NFL Combine Questioning Can Get Personal
The Atlanta Falcons apologized to Ohio State corner Eli Apple after a coach asked him about his sexuality at the NFL Combine. According to Apple, one of the Falcons coaches asked if he liked men. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn issued a statement that said the team was sorry.
The NFL Combine
One could posit the argument that teams ask these types of questions to see prospects reactions. If they react poorly, teams imagine how they’d react when the press asks them questions they deem borderline or offensive. Killing The Breeze has Apple as a first round pick, and a team investing millions in him and similar first round prospects want to make sure they’ll represent them well.
On the other hand, it’s illegal under New York Human Rights Law to ask a prospective employee about his or her sexual orientation. Remember, the NFL is based in New York.
Roger Goodell addressed this in a letter he sent out in 2013, an excerpt below:
We know this isn’t new. Former Miami Dophins general manager Jeff Ireland once asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. One team even asked a prospect if he found his mother attractive.
For what it’s worth, the Atlanta Falcons have released a statement from Head Coach Dan Quinn:
“I am really disappointed in the question that was asked by one of our coaches. I have spoken to the coach that interviewed Eli Apple and explained to him how inappropriate and unprofessional this was. I have reiterated this to the entire coaching staff and I want to apologize to Eli for this even coming up. This is not what the Atlanta Falcons are about and it is not how we are going to conduct ourselves.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the following in an email:
“This is disappointing and clearly inappropriate as the Falcons acknowledged. We will look into it.”