The question was posed at Bryant's interview with the Dolphins earlier this month and first surfaced last week when reported by Yahoo! Sports' Mike Silver. Tuesday, Silver wrote a column identifying Ireland as the offending party.
A few hours after the column appeared, Ireland called Bryant to apologize. The receiver, who was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 24th pick in the first round of last weekend's NFL draft, accepted the apology. He told Silver that he was "really mad" when the question was asked but didn't show it.
Ireland subsequently released a public statement:
"My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I'm consider drafting. Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions.
"Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him.
"I appreciate his acceptance of that apology and I told him I wished him well as he embarks on his NFL career."
The incident is the latest and most egregious in a string of odd questions asked of prospective draftees in the weeks leading up to the draft. Bryant's attitude and background had been a concern for a number of franchises and it appears Ireland was trying to dig a little deeper into those issues. Either that or he was seeing whether Bryant would take the bait and react poorly to an offensive query.
It doesn't matter what the reason was, though; Ireland's question was tacky, classless and unprofessional. As Silver wrote, the general manager should be thankful that Bryant kept his emotions in check and didn't lunge across the desk in retaliation.
Considering the apology only came after Ireland was publicly identified, it's hard to accept its sincerity. Ireland never acknowledged the question, nor apologized to its subject, Bryant's mother, Angela. Frankly, that Dez accepted the forced apology makes him a bigger man than Jeff Ireland will ever be.
Posted Jul 2 2012
Posted Jul 3 2012
Posted Jun 21 2012