Although NFL players are often praised for their aggressive nature on the field, the NFL is now taking proactive steps to limit prospective players who have established criminal records. In the wake of the Ray Rice domestic violence video incident, the NFL is in particular looking to exclude prospective athletes with domestic violence charges or convictions in their past.
In January of this year, the NFL sent out a memo to all teams which advised that all draft prospects who wish to enter the NFL’s Scouting Combine must first go through criminal background checks. The Scouting Combine is where NFL teams look at prospective prospects en masse, without having to take the time and hassle of providing each prospect a private workout or practice with the team. The NFL memo further advised that any prospect whose background check report came back showing either misdemeanor or felony convictions for either violence involving the use of a weapon, domestic violence, sexual offense or sexual assault would not be allowed to complete in either the Scouting Combine or the draft. Additionally, any prospect who refuses who undergo the background check would also be barred from the draft and the Scouting Combine.
Although prospects who fail the NFL’s background check program would be ineligible for the draft and the Scouting Combine, they would not actually be ineligible to being drafted by a team. This rule likely works most in favor of already elite prospects who have an established relationship with an NFL team or agent and for whom inclusion in a draft may be more of a formality rather than a requirement. The majority of average-rated prospects however, will likely be dealt serious blows by this new rule.
It is important to note that the rule is based on the actual charges at time of conviction or plea deal. Individuals who are arrested for domestic violence, for example, but who are ultimately convicted of only disorderly conduct, would not be barred from draft or Scouting Combine eligibility. And individuals who are arrested for domestic violence or any other charge listed above but not actually convicted would likewise also not be barred from draft or Scouting Combine participation.
If you or someone you love has their eye set on the NFL but is facing serious criminal charges, contact Kosnett Law today. Our experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys understand the breadth of implications that criminal charges can bring – especially for those who seek to play professional sports or who are currently student athletes. Our experience gets you results. Call us today to learn more.