It happened again. An NFL team asked a draft prospect at last weekend’s combine if he liked men. This time it was asked of former LSU running back Derrius Guice. And this time, the NFL needs to punish the offending team.
‘’It was pretty crazy,” Guice said in an interview on the SiriusXM NFL show ‘Late Hits,’ USA Today said. ”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?’ “
Pro Football Talk — which said it confirmed that the question was asked — was the first to report on the story and gave the appropriate background:
It’s a question that keeps getting asked of incoming players, regardless of how many times the fact that it was asked leads to a supposedly increased awareness regarding the importance of not asking questions like this. Two years ago, cornerback Eli Apple faced that question in a pre-draft interview with the Falcons. The NFL dubbed the question “disappointing and clearly inappropriate,” and the league vowed to look into it. Three years before that, a team asked tight end Nick Kasa if he likes girls. The league dubbed the topic impermissible and said that persons asking such questions would be subject to discipline.
When a coach for the Atlanta Falcons asked the same question of Eli Apple (drafted by the New York Giants), the league took no action and the coach apologized.
It is an inappropriate question to ask in what can be construed as a job interview and would be a violation of labor law in many situations. It should have no bearing on a player’s ability and smacks of homophobia. If a player answered in the affirmative and said not only does he like men, but that his boyfriend happens to be a man, I wonder what the reaction would be of the person who asked it.
The NFL needs to do more than express regret and wag its finger like it did last time. The team needs to be named and punished. According to the NFL draft site Walter Football, Guice had formal interviews with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills at the combine. Calvin Watkins of Newsday said the New York Jets and Giants also met with him. It is unclear if he met with representatives from other teams, so it’s impossible right now to say what team it was, short of Guice telling us.
Clearly, this team learned nothing from the Eli Apple incident, so a stern lecture by the NFL and an apology from the offending coach are not enough. There are no openly gay players in the NFL and maybe it’s insinuating questions like the one asked Guice that is one reason why.