We've all been there before: you've been working an unpaid internship for anywhere from two to four years and you finally start interviewing for what could be a well-paying job. You show up to your interview—maybe a little nervous, maybe a little tense because your alarm didn't go off and you had to run out of the house without your customary morning constitutional—and the first thing your prospective employer asks is "what would you do if I punched you in the face right now?"
OK, so actually, we have not all been there before because as much as work is a drag, we do not work in an industry populated with the walking neck-veins you find in the NFL. In fact, I have never been on an interview where any question, let alone an introductory one, asked me to contemplate the looming threat of physical violence.
Former Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker, however, is looking to get drafted by an NFL team later this month, so naturally he sat down with a psychopath to talk shop. USA Today asked Baker what's the strangest question he's been asked so far and Baker didn't miss a beat: it was definitely the one about getting punched in the face.
"I didn’t have any really weird questions. The one question that sticks out is I sat down, and the first thing the coach asked me is what I would do if he punched me in the face right now? To me, being from Cleveland, my natural reaction was, 'Coach, no disrespect but if you punch me in the face, we’re gonna fight right here.' That was just my natural response. I guess that’s what he wanted to hear, because he said, 'Good.' It was definitely a fun interview. I didn’t get asked too many weird questions."
As if asking the question "what would you do if I punched you in the face?" weren't NFL enough, Baker's answer—that it would lead to a fight—elicited a "Good" from the coach.
Good! There's some obvious macho bullshit, pseudo-psychology going on here—I wanted to see how you'd react, I want a guy who fights back, etc, etc—but at the end of the day this is a meathead tasked with evaluating an athlete who is expected to learn a playbook, adjust to larger, faster, and more talented athletes than he's ever played against, all while making dozens of split-second decisions. And this guy's first question is basically like a confrontation between Earth's first two cavemen.
If you were ever wondering why teams and the league can't ever stop themselves from fucking everything up, remember this un-named coach and think about how, in all probability, he is not the dumbest person employed by that team.