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Thursday, April 09, 2021

no friending league
The standard due diligence scouting that National Football League clubs do prior to the Draft has now extended to the college players’ online hangouts — in a decidedly underhanded way, in the form of honeypot cyber-traps:

“It works like magic,” said a personnel source that was familiar with his team’s tactic of using counterfeit profiles to link to Facebook and MySpace pages of potential draft picks. The source directed Yahoo! Sports to one of the team’s “ghost profiles” – a term he coined because “once the draft is over, they disappear. It’s like they were never there.”

The practice may have an underhanded, back-alley feel to it, but most NFL teams are unapologetic when it comes to picking through the lives of prospective players. And with the tentacles of the Internet extending further than ever into the lives of athletes, online information has offered a wealth of fresh ammunition for teams. Whether it’s networking sites like Facebook, Myspace or Twitter, personal blogs, or just the random bits of information that can be found with an hour of free time and a powerful Internet search engine, NFL teams are gleefully delving into new cracks and corners that didn’t exist even a decade ago…

And the process of “ghosting” – creating fake profiles to get added to the private pages of some draft picks – isn’t isolated. Executives from three NFL teams admitted that at one point or another, they had used a similar method to get information. And all three suggested that it was something that was likely used by the investigative sources of all teams.

How creepy is it to think that some tech intern in Green Bay or Pittsburgh is effectively posing as an online hottie to lure football players their way? All to uncover nonsense that a battery of psychological testing and private investigation is supposed to red-flag — and despite all that, teams still wind up committing time and money to spectacular high-round busts like Ryan Leaf and Demetrius Underwood.

Naturally, the players need to be smart too, and resist the widespread impulse to go hog-wild online. Social networks are laughably easy to scour; their presentation as trusted private preserves is the biggest danger here.

What’s not mentioned in all this: Any damaging content gleaned from this exercise leads to more than just embarrassment — it conceivably costs a player money. If some whack-assed photos or rants scare off enough teams, a lineman or quarterback who was tabbed as a prospective second-rounder could drop like a rock to the fourth or fifth round, and end up with a lot less money as a result. Even more reason for the players to show restraint.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 04/09/2021 08:30:46 PM
Category: Football, Internet
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  1. [...] -NFL teams getting on Facebook to explore the lives of their potential draft picks.  I find nothing… [...]

    Pingback by LinkedOnSports.com| The WakeUp — 04/10/2021 @ 07:43:44 AM

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