ESPN’s Bomani Jones warns of unfair profiling in wake of Hernandez murder allegations

Gabe Finger Contributor
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During the “Buy or Sell” segment of Wednesday’s episode of Around the Horn, analysts suggested various problems with a new reported NFL standard of checking player’s tattoos prior to drafting them, in response to the alleged murders committed by Aaron Hernandez.

On ESPN’s roundtable point-scoring style show, Bomani Jones took issue with the proposal because he believes profiling, likely racial, would occur and that NFL executives would see gang-affiliated tattoos. Which, according to Jones, would be a problem, because it “doesn’t tell you nearly as much information as you’re going to want to have.”

Additionally, Woody Paige suggested the practice would be in violation of American’s civil liberties, prompting host Tony Reali to laugh, presumably at Paige’s misunderstanding of where and when the 4th amendment applies.

TONY REALI: Check out this tweet from Bruce Feldman of CBS: “Spoke with long-time NFL personnel man who said in wake of Aaron Hernandez, teams may use police experts to check prospect’s tattoos.” What do you think of that, Plaschke?

BILL PLASCHKE: I have no problem with that. I’m not a police expert, but I’ve been doing that for years. When I interview athletes, I ask, what does that mean, what does that mean. It reveals — tattoos often reveal a personal history about an athlete. If you can find anything about this athlete that’s deeper into his life, why not do it?

WOODY PAIGE: They have a right to say no to you, though. I think it’s a violation of civil liberties.

REALI: You do?

PAIGE: Maybe if you’re in prison they could check your tattoos, but they can hire FBI and police experts and investigate your background and I think that’s perfectly acceptable. But examining tattoos? I don’t think so.

PLASCHKE: How is that different? That’s the same thing.

BOMANI JONES: Well, now I see a couple of problems with this. One, I’m assuming they’re going to be looking at tattoos, looking for gang affiliations and if you find out somebody’s in a gang, guess what, that doesn’t tell you nearly as much information as you’re going to want to have. The next part is, are we going to look at everybody’s tattoos the same exact way in this process? Because I bet they don’t.

PABLO TORRE: Yeah, this is a call for greater all-around background checking. Tattoos in 2013 — I live in Brooklyn, you want to go background check Lena Dunham, or anybody else, any of the other hipsters in my neighborhood for tattoos, you’re not going to get very far.

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Gabe Finger