It’s possible that some NFL coaches, in last week’s scouting combine, had other measures in mind besides those of speed, strength, mental toughness and agility.
Players attending complained that some questions were a bit more intrusive than expected, dealing with one’s sexual orientation or preference. Nick Kasa, a tight end from the University of Colorado said he was asked, “Do you have a girlfriend?” “Are you married?” and “Do you like girls?” were other queries thrown at the UC rookie prospect.
The NFL found it troubling enough to release a statement condemning the questions as inappropriate and illegal stating, “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.” Such equal protections under the law are afforded by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Coming on the heels of the intense media inquiry into the existence of Notre Dame’s Manti T’eo’s girlfriend and the possible reasons behind such an investigation, the posed questions quickly became a focal point of the week and were denounced as improper, across the board. Vikings punter and outspoken proponent of same sex marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, Chris Kluwe called on the NFL to make a bolder statement concerning the impropriety. Speaking on The Dan Patrick Show, he said, “The player is in a very vulnerable position right there because he can’t exactly tell a team, ‘go f___ yourself’, because he’s looking for a job. And that gives the team a lot of power.”
But the week ended on a good note; with regard to the degree of tolerance present in the league. The NFL held regional tryouts at the facility in Floram Park, New Jersey, one of ten regional combines for those not lucky enough to go Indianapolis. There, twenty-nine year old Lauren Silberman, a former Wisconsin soccer club player and New York City resident became the first woman to try out for the NFL as she vied for a spot on the team as a kicker. However, she was unsuccessful and had to leave tryouts early as she re-injured her leg in one of her kicking attempts.
Sources: Pardon The Interruption; NFL, Around the League, Chris Kluwe: Sexual Orientation Inquiries Unacceptable, Kareem Copeland, March 2, 2013; CBSSports.com. Female kicker trying out for NFL suffers apparent injury, Larry Hartstein, March 3, 2013.
2013 NFL Combine
PTI Podcast 2/28 NFL Combine issue
NFL/Around the League – Chris Kluwe: Sexual Orientation inquires Unacceptable