According to one college football senior NFL teams have taken to asking college prospects about their sexual orientation at this year’s pro football combine. Top college players attend the combine in order to highlight their skills for NFL executives. During the combine players go through a series of drills to test their athleticism in addition to spending time interviewing with team personnel.
One prospect, Nick Kasa, a player from the University of Colorado, told ESPN radio that several teams had asked him questions such as “Do you have a girlfriend?” and “Do you like girls?” Said Kasa, “it was just kind of weird.”
Many who follow the NFL, including Mike Florio of NBC Sports feel that the questioning is directly related to the rampant rumors surrounding Notre Dame star Manti T’eo. "Here's the elephant in the room for the teams and it shouldn't matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the unique industry that is the NFL," said Florio. "Teams want to know whether Manti Te'o is gay. They just want to know. They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it's a different world. It shouldn't be that way."
Rumors of T’eo being gay have been front and center since it was learned that he took part in a hoax in which his girlfriend of three years, Lennay Kekua, was found to be a fictional character and not, in fact, a real person.
Fox Sports Jason Whitlock penned an article yesterday in which he implored NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whose brother is gay, to take a stronger stand against homophobia in the league.
Let’s be honest. I think it’s reasonable to assume that 15 percent of NFL players are gay and/or bisexual. Generally speaking, they’re forced to conceal their sexuality out of fear of being ostracized and potentially released from the team. They need to be set free, released from the grip of the most hostile work environment in America. Is there a more homophobic work setting than a football locker room? I can’t think of one.
There’s a terrific opportunity here for Goodell. He can make the NFL a zero-tolerance zone for homophobia. He can use the weight of his office and the power he wields because of the player-conduct policy to go after players and organizations that tolerate any form of sexuality discrimination. He could send a clear message the NFL commissioner is a friend to gays and will take every possible action to ensure they’re treated fairly. Goodell can create an environment that entices a closeted gay player to come out and be the hero/role model gay kids, parents of gay children and overgrown idiots need.
How can he accomplish all of this? He can start by partnering with gay-rights activists and establishing an oversight committee that investigates, monitors and trains NFL teams in issues related to anti-gay workplace hostility. He can then begin treating offenders with the same heavy hand he uses on players for illegal hits and off-field incidents.
The author is solely responsible for the content.