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NFL Teams Probing Prospective Players with Gay Questions?

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Mar 9, 2018
Derrius Guice
Derrius Guice  (Source:Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

To hear Derrius Guice tell it, at least one team at the NFL Scouting Combine this year seemed eager to know about more than his ability with the pigskin: They wanted to know if he's into other kinds of balls, too.

Guice, formerly a running back for the LSU Tigers, said on SiriusXM NFL Radio's "Late Hits" program that he was quizzed as to his sexual orientation while at the combine, a Bleacher Report article said. The combine took place in Indianapolis between Feb. 27 and March 5.

A USA Today story dove more deeply into the details. "I go in one room, and a team will ask me do I like men, just to see my reaction," the newspaper reported Guice as saying on the SiriusXM program. "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?' "

Whether the prurient prying was all a matter of head games or whether there was serious intent behind quizzing the player about his private proclivities is immaterial - at least, that's the message from NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy. In comments to Pro Football Talk, McCarthy slammed the quizzing around sexual orientation as "completely inappropriate and wholly contrary to league workplace policies."

McCarthy, who provided his comments via email, added, "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."

McCarthy assured Pro Football Talk, "We are looking into the matter."

For all the good that's likely to do. Similarly, intrusive inquiries have been reported before, as when the Falcons sprang a question about sexual orientation on Eli Apple in 2016. When that happened, the Falcons underwent "a training seminar," according to Pro Football Talk, but, the sports news source noted, the lesson doesn't seem to have been picked up by other teams. "That's likely because the consequences aren't sufficient to deter teams from asking improper questions," Pro Football Talk opined.

Sports Illustrated reported on the lurid line of questioning and noted, "No openly gay player has ever played in a regular-season NFL game. Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted in 2014 but he never appeared in a regular-season game."

Wonder why that might be?

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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