NFL Prospects questioned about their sexual orientation
"Yeah, yeah, there were questions just like that," Le'veon Bell said, via in an interview to Detroit station WDFN. "There were definitely a couple of weird questions. I got asked so many of them, I don't remember them all. But that was definitely a couple of questions I got asked."
Though the NFL is against any sort of discrimination in hiring, whether based on sexuality or race, former NFL player who came out after their careers ended in the league have stated they expected to be seen differently by the teams after making their sexual orientation public. The issue especially picked up focus at the NFL combine, in the aftermath of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s involvement in an elaborate hoax and equally bizarre relationship with a fictional girlfriend. Manti Te’o later put it on the record in the interview that any speculations about him being gay were totally false.
"I think they do that just to see how you react and just to see how you answer to it,” Le'veon Bell said of the questions asked by teams related to player’s sexuality asked at the NFL combine. “It's really to try to test you and where you're at mentally, and you've got to make sure you handle all those things in the right way so certain teams will take a chance on you and get you."
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith called out the teams for inappropriate questions and “discrimination” in their hiring process.
"I know that the NFL agrees that these types of questions violate the law, our CBA and player rights," said DeMaurice Smith. "I hope that they will seek out information as to what teams have engaged in this type of discrimination and we should then discuss appropriate discipline."
Previously, University of Colorado tight end Nick Kasa said that in the interview session with teams, during the four-day NFL combine that ended in Indianapolis on Tuesday, he was asked questions such as: 'Do you have a girlfriend?' 'Are you married?' 'Do you like girls?'
“It was just kind of weird, but they would ask you with a straight face,” continued Nick Kasa.
University of Michigan standout Denard Robinson also acknowledged during an interview, of indirectly being asked about at the NFL combine.
The NFL warned in a statement that in accordance with the CBA and player’s rights, any sort of discrimination “including on the basis of sexual orientation” is prohibited and punishable by the league.
"Like all employers, our teams are expected to follow applicable federal, state and local employment laws," the NFL released in a statement. “It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process.”
“Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”