A gay civil rights organization has taken exception to prospective NFL players being questioned about their sexual orientation, at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay civil rights organization in the country, has released a statement in response to running back Derrius Guice getting asked whether he likes men. In the statement, the HRC expresses frustration with the NFL’s apparent inability to put a stop to this type of questioning.
“The fact that Derrius Guice was asked by an NFL team — and a prospective employer — about his sexual orientation is absurd and inappropriate,” the statement said. “With similar incidents already reported, it’s clear that the NFL did not do enough to prevent it from happening again. Guice’s experience illustrates the risks faced by millions of LGBTQ people today in employment, athletics, housing and other areas of their lives. It’s why we need swift action to condemn these kinds of practices and to fight for passage of the Equality Act to ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The NFL should take serious actions that address these unacceptable incidents and the perpetuation of an unwelcoming anti-LGBTQ environment, including publicly supporting the Equality Act.”
Guice is not the first NFL prospect to get asked about his sexuality.
In 2016, for example, Eli Apple claimed that coaches from the Falcons staff asked him the same question.
“The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, ‘So, do you like men?’ It was like the first thing he asked me,” Apple said. “It was weird. I was just like, ‘No.’ He was like, ‘If you’re going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that’s how it is around here, you’re going to have to get used to it.’ I guess he was joking, but they just ask most of these questions to see how you’re going to react.”
The issue came to light in 2013 as well. The league conducted an investigation after three players came forward, saying that teams had asked about their sexuality.
The league set forth their policy on questions about sexual orientation in a 2013 statement: “It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process. 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.”
Apparently someone did not get the message.