Getty ImagesSometimes I wonder if the NFL's only purpose in continuing to use the Wonderlic test as part of a draft prospect's evaluation is to allow NFL fans a way to feel superior to the athletes they watch.
By and large, NFL athletes are rich people. The top draft prospects are about to be. They have fame and the adoration of millions, and they soak up the cheers of enamored followers year-round. They have beautiful cars, homes and companions. They are in world class physical condition. They play a game for a living.
So maybe the NFL thinks they need to throw us a bone so we don't feel inferior when watching NFL games. So is everyone enjoying the news that Morris Claiborne scored a four out of fifty on an "intelligence test" designed to measure someone's ability to learn and problem-solve?
A score of 20 is considered to be "average intelligence", according to Wikipedia, and a 10 represents basic literacy. The score posted by Claiborne, the highly-rated cornerback prospect out of LSU, obviously, would not be on the impressive side of things.
I now know that score, and so do you, and so does pretty much every NFL fan who got on the internet today. Why I know it, I'm not sure. Why I'd ever want to know it, I have no clue. That's a very personal thing to know about someone. I don't want to know Morris Claiborne's Wonderlic score any more than I'd want to know his cholesterol level, sexual history or his feelings about his father.
It's not my business. It's his. If he wants to share, fine, but how is it that I and everyone else have been granted this glimpse at a measure of his intelligence?
This is supposed to remain private information. I personally question why it's necessary to anyone that a guy like Claiborne takes this test, and I also don't buy that it accurately measures his intelligence. However, I suppose there is an argument to be made that an NFL team has a right to know a guy's Wonderlic score, and even if I don't agree, fine, I'll play along.
What concerns me more is how and why this information has become public, and now that it is, why anyone cares.
Again, results of a test like this are intensely personal. They should be guarded every bit as tightly as someone's medical records. My best guess is that someone, somewhere along the line, decided to get their jollies by leaking Claiborne's score. "Hey, look at how dumb this guy is, hahahaha! Football players are so stupid."
Getty ImagesFlip the shoe to your foot for a second. What if you were trying to get a job, and your prospective employer had you take an aptitude test of some kind, and for one reason or another, you scored poorly. Would you like it if that employer then picked up your test, marched it out to the sidewalk, held it up and screamed, "LOOK AT THIS MORON! NOT MUCH OF A FUTURE IN GETTING DRUNK ON STERNO, IS THERE, PAL?"
That's essentially what we're doing to Morris Claiborne, which, in my mind, is far more reprehensible that offering players $5,000 for trying to hurt someone they were going to try to hurt anyway. If Roger Goodell wants to play Tommy Tough Guy with the Saints, then heads should roll over this, too. Find the leak, and make sure no one's privacy is ever violated again. If that resulted in the NFL no longer using the Wonderlic company, I wouldn't shed any tears over it. And I don't believe our ability to predict an NFL player's future would suffer, either.
Do yourself a favor and don't get caught up in this. Don't make a judgment about Morris Claiborne, and don't make a judgment about yourself in comparison to Morris Claiborne. Maybe he's not a great test taker. Maybe he had a rough morning on test day.
Or you know what? Maybe he's not tremendously book smart. I shrug at the news. So what? Should we get all judgmental about it? We all have our own problems, and fortunately for us, no one is privy to them unless we want them to be. Thank goodness no one's running through my life with a fine-toothed comb and putting the results on every website in the world.
Morris Claiborne's field is football. Do you know what he's accomplished in that field? He was a consensus first-team All American. He won the Thorpe Award. He was the SEC defensive player of the year. He was a finalist for the Nagurski Award. Have you accomplished that much in your field?
If Claiborne aces the Wonderlic or bombs it, a man does not generate that list of accomplishments without knowing what he's doing. He is smart about the things he has to be smart about. That's all you, me, or anyone else needs to know.