Tomas Tatar, a Slovakian hockey player with NHL skills, described the interview process he underwent during the league's draft combine. He was asked one question that seemed rather odd.
Tatar: The interviews are in English with a wide range of questions.
Q. Such as?
Tatar. The usual things so that I would talk about myself and my family, and they asked me my opinion of why their team should draft me.
Q. Did you get any unusual questions?
Tatar. There were a few. I thought I didn't properly understand what they were asking when they asked if I was married with kids and if I was gay. I calmly answered all questions.
I ran the original article in Slovak through an online translator and "gay" is what Tatar says he was asked. The player said the interview was in English and that he understands the language well. This question raised the ire of Matthew Berry, the Los Angeles Kings blogger on Hockey Buzz.
Maybe it's a "loose" translation but in this day and age, asking someone if they're "gay" is not only illegal, its classless. I know many of you are going to say "they're making an investment and they don't want a homosexual in the locker room" - well... why not? Does that make him less of a human being or better yet (gulp!) a hockey player because of his sexual preference? ...
Although none have come "out" there are currently gay hockey players in the NHL (just read Eric Anderson's book "In The Game").
In a league which quickly forgives its drunken and arrested players and even allows convicted drug traffickers to continue their careers, asking about ones sexual preferences shouldn't really be a surprise. I am surprised they haven't starting asking "Do you prefer the Bible or the Koran?"
I appreciate Berry's sentiments, but I know sports leagues routinely try and determine whether draft prospects might be gay, though maybe not by asking it so directly. Right or wrong, these teams want to know everything about a player.
I was speaking last month with a former college football lineman who went through the NFL combine a few years ago. He was gay, a fact known only to a few people at his school, a major football program in Division I. At his combine interview, this player was stunned when he was asked whether his sexual orientation "would be a problem." Turns out the player's position coach told the interviewer.
Berry's post generated 11 pages of comments on the topic, from the typical idiots to the more thoughtful.