Another year, another story of an NFL prospect claiming they were asked inappropriate questions at the NFL Scouting Combine. In this instance, former LSU running back Derrius Guice revealed that he was subjected to questions about his sexuality and whether or not his mother was a prostitute.
Guice revealed some of what was going on and said unknown teams asked him if he liked men and if his mother was a prostitute.
“It was pretty crazy,” Guice said in an interview on the SiriusXM NFL show Late Hits. “Some people are really trying to get in your head and test your reaction. … I go in one room, and a team will ask me do I like men, just to see my reaction. I go in another room, they’ll try to bring up one of my family members or something and tell me, ‘Hey, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?'”
In a statement to Pro Football Talk, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the line of questioning was “completely inappropriate.” You can almost picture the PR speak oozing out of this statement.
“A question such as that is completely inappropriate and wholly contrary to league workplace policies,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email on Thursday morning. “The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all employees in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, state and federal laws and the CBA. We are looking into the matter.”
“The league annually reminds clubs of these workplace policies that prohibit personnel from seeking information concerning a player’s sexual orientation,” McCarthy said.
We know how this is going to play out. The NFL is going to talk and talk about how this is so terrible and so inappropriate, not to mention illegal, but when it comes to actually doing anything of substance, the NFL will do the bare minimum in order to get the media off their back. And we know this because the NFL has done this before.
This is the third time in the past five years, that we know of, that a pro prospect revealed that he was asked a question about his sexuality. When the Falcons asked Eli Apple whether or not he liked men, the team had to undergo a training seminar which for the NFL, is really just for appearances. Hopefully, the Falcons took that seriously and made an honest effort to change. The Falcons haven’t been accused of asking similar questions since. But in other situations, let’s face facts. We’ve all worked somewhere where we underwent some sort of training for some very serious things. How many people do you remember paid attention to what was being taught? Instead, it’s usually more a way for a company to cover its ass when something happens to show that they actually did something without actually doing something.
The NFL Draft Combine, and in particular the interview portion, is a form of psychological hazing to every prospect that sometimes goes illegal. It’s illegal to ask someone about their sexuality, irregardless of if it’s meant to be a test to see how one would react. It’s not even a good test to see how someone would react. If it’s to judge how they would react if an opposing player said their mother was a whore, that’s probably already happened in high school or college either by an opposing player or opposing fan. And more than likely, if that player did react in a way that would raise red flags, I’m pretty sure someone in the media would’ve reported that.
I’m waiting for this to backfire in a team’s face. Where a team asks a prospect if they liked men and the prospect say, “Yeah, I like men. So what?” Because then the team who asked that is in a bind. You opened Pandora’s Box by asking the question and if you don’t draft that player, you have a decent case for a discrimination lawsuit claiming that team didn’t draft a player because he was gay.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has a better, albeit strict, solution to deal with prospects being asked inappropriate and potentially illegal questions. He suggested banning the team from the next Scouting Combine. Maybe something in the middle like taking draft picks would work as well but keep the Combine ban in the back pocket for repeat offenses.