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Published: Friday, 4/30/2010

Questioning by Dolphins' GM indefensible

Idle thoughts from an idle mind, while wondering if LeBron James isn't the only one in Cleveland who is "not concerned" with his elbow/arm injury.

The National Football League is big business, and its draft is risky business. First-round picks are multi-million dollar investments, so teams hold private workouts, conduct inexhaustible physical and medical testing, and use lengthy one-on-one interviews to probe into every nook and cranny of a prospective employee's life.

If I'm the general manager and you're the college star, I want to know your drug history, from the kind they cook up in a spoon to a baby aspirin. I want to know if you own a gun. I want to know if you ever cheated on a test. I want to know if you've ever been stuffed into the back seat of a cop car. I want to know who you hang with, if you have even the slightest history of alcohol abuse, if you've ever been involved in a domestic incident. I want to know everything, right down to the color of your boxer briefs.

But do I need to know if your mother is a prostitute?

That's a question Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland asked of Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant during a predraft interview. We don't know the context of the question, and I'm not sure we should care. However it was stated, it is pretty much indefensible.

Ireland said he apologized to Bryant, but that was only after the player let the exchange become public knowledge. The owner of the Dolphins said he will investigate. You can bet Ireland will hear from commissioner Roger Goodell, who takes protection of the NFL's brand very seriously. And this smears it.

•So the "panther" logo on the football field at Whitmer High is remarkably similar to the University of Pittsburgh logo. So what? I understand trademark infringement, I guess, although a panther is a panther, and I'm not sure how someone can own the likeness of a wild animal. (Note to Pitt officials: Don't go to the expense of having your attorney send me an explanation, because while I don't know, I also don't care.)

Regardless, for Pitt to go after a high school 240 miles from its campus is about as petty as it gets. Here's a compromise: Whitmer substitutes a new logo on its gym walls and scoreboards and on the sweatshirts it sells at concession stands, and Pitt forgets about the field, where the logo is sewn into the fabric and the replacement cost would be considerable. In this economic climate, a public school system has more pressing needs for its dollars, and no entity should be more sensitive to that than a university facing similar issues.

•Lorena Ochoa's imminent retirement from golf despite being the top-ranked female player in the world and just 28 years old, should not have been all that startling because she had long let it be known this day would come sooner than later because of her interest in having a family.

One of the first people she told, ironically, was Juli Inkster, perhaps the best example on the LPGA Tour of a successful working mom. But Inkster made no attempt to change her mind.

"Golf is what she does, not who she is," Inkster said of Ochoa, adding that her decision was based on "what's in her heart."

We might not like Ochoa's decision, but nobody can argue with the heart.

Contact Blade sports columnist

Dave Hackenberg at:

dhack@theblade.com

or 419-724-6398.



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