NFL officials indicated on Wednesday the league may discipline teams that ask players if they have girlfriends or like girls.
Colorado tight end Nick Kasa told Dan Patrick on his radio show this week that, “(Teams) ask you, like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ ‘Are you married?’ ‘Do you like girls?'”
During the NFL Combine, NFL executives reportedly discussed whether Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o allowed himself to fall for a fake girlfriend because he was gay. That reportedly led them to ask more questions than usual about whether players had girlfriends.
An NFL spokesman noted that NFL did have a policy in which teams cannot inquire about whether a player is gay in the hiring process and the NFL players union also complained after hearing reports of recent interviews.
“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 said. “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.”
He said the league will “look into the report on the questioning of” Kasa and “any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”
An NFL head coach also reportedly asked Tyler Eifert, a tight end prospect who was Te’o’s teammate in college, if he had a girlfriend and whether that girlfriend was “real.”
Whether NFL teams can legally ask a player about his sexuality, though, may ultimately depend on where the team plays and the specific state laws governing their actions.
Here are teams that may not be able to ask whether they are gay:
San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahwaks, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens
And here are the teams that may be able to ask players whether they are gay:
Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins