NFL Tackling Players with Tattoos

We all know that piercings or weird dye jobs might make for an awkward job interview, but could your tattoo keep you from your dream gig? Perhaps, if the NFL has anything to say about it.


(Photo credit: Jhong Dizon/Flickr)

The National Football league is legendary for their background checks of college prospects. Most teams have their own security department to dive deep into the lives of talented college football players. In interviews, some teams have allegedly even asked prospects about their sexual orientation.

One area teams haven’t traditionally dissected is the ink on a potential future draft pick. But in the wake of the tragedy surrounding Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end arrested on murder charges, tattoos might become fair game.

Hernandez has a tattoo that reads “blood” in red letters on his right hand. Monday morning quarterbacks are saying the tattoo is gang-related and the Patriots should have recognized it and dug deeper into Hernandez’s past.

Outside of football, 14 percent of Americans have tattoos, according to one study. Employers are becoming increasingly friendly with applicants that are tatted up, even in corporate, educational and medical industries, according to a Forbes report.

“Even in this tight job market, most companies aren’t going to view tattoos too harshly,” consulting firm CEO John John Challenger told Forbes. “Companies have a vested interest in hiring the most qualified candidate.”

NFL teams and employers in general are smart to gather as much relevant information as possible on a potential employee. Still, hiring mistakes like Hernandez are going to happen regardless. Nobody completes 100 percent of their passes, but one incompletion doesn’t mean you throw away the entire playbook.

There are important, relevant attributes employers need to know about prospective employees. Tattoos just aren’t one of them.

Tell Us What You Think:

Is it fair for an employer to judge an applicant by their tattoos? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!

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1 Comment

  1. 1 Stephen Lykins 24 Aug
    I think it would depend on the tattoo's design, size and location as well as the particular job.  The Blood tattoo on Hernandez's hand should have been a red flag.  A tasteful little heart or flower on a lady's ankle (or pretty much anywhere) not so much.

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