After questions were raised over the legality of asking potential NFL draft picks questions about their sexuality, the NFL is now investigating which teams posed such questions and cracking down on whether or not they're legal.
This week at the NFL combine, the annual gathering of college prospects in advance of the draft in which teams evaluate players' talent, NBC News's Mike Florio reported "the elephant in the room" for NFL GMs was "whether Manti Te'o is gay," or not. There was a firestorm of criticism against the league for even thinking about asking something so personal. Today, the story broke that University of Colorado tight end Nick Kasa wasn't asked whether or not he was gay. But Kasa was asked, "Do you like girls?" he told ESPN Radio Denver's CJ & Kreckman. Again, more questions were raised over the legality of asking players about their sexual orientation. The league has a rule in its collective bargaining agreement outlawing discrimination against sexual orientation. Under Article 49, Section 1, it reads:
“No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.”
The league has now clarified that teams have likely violated this provision by their alleged line of questioning with Kasa, Te'o, and likely others. They were the only ones to speak about it. Presumably there were more. "Like all employers, our teams are expected to follow applicable federal, state and local employment laws. It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process," league spokesman Greg Aiello USA Today's Mike Garafolo. "In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation." Aiello said any team found to be in violation of state or federal law or league rules would be disciplined accordingly. Frankly, it was about time.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.