NFL Scouting Combine Bans Players With Domestic Violence, Weapons Convictions

NFL Scouting Combine Bans Players With Domestic Violence, Weapons Convictions

The league is finally taking a stand.

Published February 9, 2016

It's about damn time.

USA Today Sports is reporting that from now on, the NFL will not allow players with convictions for domestic violence, sexual assault or weapons charges to attend the yearly scouting combine in Indianapolis, thus limiting their chances of making the league.

The league's executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, sent the policy change in a memo to all NFL franchises late last month.

As part of the memo, which was obtained by USA Today, Vincent wrote that NFL prospects would be barred from "any league-related event" if their background check reveals a felony or misdemeanor conviction.

If a player refuses to agree to a background check, it will be deemed as an admission of guilt and that player will be uninvited from the combine or a league-related event, including the NFL Draft. 

Essentially, the NFL is trying to weed out bad seeds and limit their chances of making the league.

That being said, banned combine players can still attend other private workouts and pro days, so the question is why would the NFL go halfway with this rule and not 100 percent, prohibiting convicted players from playing football, altogether?

If anything, it's a start, right?

"It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers, and others who support our game that character matters," Vincent wrote in the memo, as reported by USA Today.

Each February, the NFL combine gets upwards of 300 prospects who undergo full physicals, participate in the 40-yard dash and perform in position-specific drills, so the ramifications for players affected by the policy change are now in place for offenders.

One can't help but think the NFL's policy update is a direct response to Greg Hardy and his domestic violence incident.

In May 2014, the defensive end was arrested for domestic violence against his then-girlfriend Nicole Holder.

The charges were dropped in February 2015, when Holder refused to cooperate with the district attorney's office.

Despite the clear controversy, the Dallas Cowboys signed the suspended defensive end to a one-year, $11.3 million deal for the 2015 season and he wound up playing in 12 games.

However, in the midst of his season, in early November, Deadspin released photos of Holder with bruises covering her body including her back, arms, legs, chin, neck and foot, in addition to several damaging quotes from the police report.

“I tried to get up, he pushed me,” she said. “Then I started fighting back, he threw me into the bathroom, I hit the back of the shower wall and fell into the bathtub where he pulled me out."

She claims Hardy dragged her by the hair and tossed her onto a futon covered with guns, before choking her.

"His pupils were tiny," she said. "I mean he looked... crazy.”

The release of the photos marked a black eye on the Cowboys and the NFL for not coming down harder on Hardy.

Let's see how this policy change could help change things in the NFL moving forward.

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(Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla


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