Two execs confirm teams want to know about Te’o’s sexuality

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When I wrote earlier this week that, for NFL teams in Indianapolis, the elephant in the room when interviewing linebacker Manti Te’o’s was his sexuality, some thought that I was speculating on his sexuality or doing anything other than passing along the information I was given:  Teams want to know if Te’o is gay.

Right or wrong (i.e., wrong), they want to know.

Badly, apparently.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that two executives told Breer it’s the one question they’d ask Te’o, if they could.

But they can’t.  Not to Te’o.  It’s one thing to jokingly (but still inappropriately) ask Colorado tight end Nick Kasa if he “likes girls.”  It’s quite another to ask Te’o that question, or anything similar to it.

Though the speculation about his sexual orientation initially arose via clumsy logic that having a pretend girlfriend in California gave him an excuse for not chasing real women in Indiana, the fact that the pretend girlfriend actually was a man who later told Dr. Phil that he was in love with Te’o created another layer of confusion in an inherently confusion situation.

Breer later explained, via Twitter, that the execs said they would ask the question “because it’s relevant to how they’d fit in” and also because “it’d be a HUGE story, so you’d inherit that” by drafting the player.

But here’s the thing.  The executives assume Te’o would admit to being gay, if he is.  He already has provided the “faarrrrr from it” response to Katie Couric on national TV.  Why would he reverse course in a job interview?

Lest we haven’t previously been clear on this point, the fact that teams are curious is wrong.  The fact that they believe they have a plausible basis for wanting to know speaks to a deeper level of dysfunction that is tolerated in a locker room but nowhere else in American society.

123 responses to “Two execs confirm teams want to know about Te’o’s sexuality

  1. This is a delicate subject especially to a football culture living in the dark ages. Stick to questions about performance, team building, and attitude. Jeesh these guys are going to set our country back decades.

  2. These guys are really embarrassing. I find it hilarious that people are so out of touch that they assume if someone was catfished, like millions others, they MUST be gay? huh?

  3. “the fact that teams are curious is wrong. ”

    No, Mike, it’s not.

    Football teams are a very tight group, and something as potentially damaging to a team’s cohesiveness is something any team would want to at least have a head’s up about, in order to handle it for the better on both the team’s behalf, and Manti T’eo’s behalf.

    It’s not quite the same thing as a gay man fitting in at IBM.

  4. This is why it’s still going to be a while until an active football player comes out. Young athletes won’t risk costing themselves money by being openly gay and “being a distraction.” It’s going to take an established star coming out to get the ball rolling, and it’s sad that gay men can’t be themselves and also play the game they love. It sucks.

  5. I think they should just let it go… I have read everything there is to read on this, watched everything there was to watch on this… Ronnie created this issue for Manti & all he did was keep the fake “girlfriend” going so he didn’t have to fess up to being completely messed up by a “friend”. I have no doubt that Ronnie is the dude with the real issues in regards to the situation with Manti.

  6. Its none of their damn business, not that there’s anything wrong with it if he were.

    Still, the Vikings or 49ers will be the first to have an openly gay NFL player as their cities are already home to large gay populations.

  7. Maybe teams don’t want the other 52 guys in the locker room to have to deal with the circus that the media will create if he or any other player did admit to being gay

  8. Didnt Te’o believe he was talking to a GIRL? When did he become gay? Besides between class , training and football dude was pretty busy maybe a pen pal was all he had time for.

  9. There’s nothing wrong with teams asking him about something that’s already been in the news and is the subject of a lot of speculation. Florio keeps banging his drum on the issue so it can hardly be called irrelevant. Te’0 is expected to be at least a 2nd round pick and was a Heisman finalist. It’s not as if he was a longshot punter prospect.

    If I worked for a team considering Te’o, I’d want to know why he claimed someone he’d never met was his girlfriend. The obvious followups from that are whether he recriprocates Tuiasosopo’s feelings and who was his last real girlfriend. Maybe Te’o has lots of former girlfriends, who all speak well of him, or maybe he has issues with relationships. It’s better to find those things out before he joins your team.

  10. I don’t think he’s gay. I just think he’s stupid for doing the whole non-girlfriend thing. I think he did fine in the interview and I believe he did ok at the combine.

    Yeah his 40 was average at best, but he looked good in the on field drills. He seemed pretty quick in changing directions and looked good dropping into coverage. So the only thing I’m worried about if Manti is ok mentally.

  11. “The fact that they believe they have a plausible basis for wanting to know speaks to a deeper level of dysfunction that is tolerated in a locker room but nowhere else in American society.”

    Have you seen American society? Though we’ve certainly made some progress, the locker room is in no way some singular microcosm of bigotry within an otherwise tolerant world.

    And let’s not pretend the NFL execs are the ONLY people wondering about Te’o’s sexuality. Every sports & gossip column in the country (including PFT) will be covering the story for months if Te’o was ever “outed”.

  12. if he is gay, or straight, what does that have to do with playing football? If the people in the locker rooms have a problem with it, then maybe they should be the ones not playing on Sundays…

  13. “because it’s relevant to how they’d fit in”

    And what every ball player can already confirm, they fit right in–its don’t ask/don’t tell, just leave it all out on the field on game day.

  14. Executives don’t care if he’s actually gay… They just want to see how he’ll react the question because he’ll have to deal with media making an issue of it the rest of his career

  15. it is not wrong that teams want to know. They are making a huge investment. It is irrelevant to most ,but to say it is wrong is ridiculous.

  16. Te’o should have some fun with this and play “It’s Raining Men” during his pro day workout.

  17. He already said he’s not gay, on national TV. What else do they want to know? Oh, is he lying about it? Well if he is gay, it’s his business and it’s his decision if and when he ever comes out the closet. If he is gay, he’ll probably come out well after his NFL career is over.

  18. I’d be less worried about his sexuality and more worries about if he can transition to the mext level.

  19. Perhaps these teams dont really care about his sexuality and only want to see how he deals with the pressure of being asked those questions. If he cant deal with the pressure of simple questions then how will he deal with 4th and goal situations with the game on the line?

  20. “Nowhere else in American society “? You really believe that? Or is that your fervent and totally unreal hope? I somehow doubt you really believe that.

  21. Though they should be able to ask him if he actively hides any part of his private life. As that is more what they are interested in.

  22. Locker room. That’s the point. You and other left wing liberals just don’t get it.
    It doesn’t really matter if he’s gay or not. What matters if how it would effect the locker room in the quest to win Super Bowls. Some players just would not be OK with it.
    So you would need to get rid of them, whoever they might be. Then try to find others that could deal with it. Of course they would say its no big deal. They want a paycheck.
    The problem is chemistry on the team and the distraction it would create. Not a good situation for the coaches or players who just want to win games.
    This is much more serious than you think.

  23. I don’t think its wrong at all that teams are curious. Right or wrong, an openly gay player would affect the lockeroom. If a team is going to invest tons of money into a player, they want to be sure to get a return on the investment. A distraction like that will cause issues, and a
    can hinder a teams success.

    Tim Tebow has the same affect on a team. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that he’s openly Christian, but that brings along with it baggage that gets in the way of a teams success.

  24. As an owner I wouldn’t want a guy fantasizing about the rest of the locker-room, nor would I want my “guys” worried about some dude checking them out.

  25. Actually i think thats a fair explaination.

    I don’t care about sexual orientation but i think its in my best interest to know.

    If i have a friend who i don’t know is Gay and we go out and he attracts the attention of some guys. They come over and instantly its assumed that I am gay and im approached also.

    If i already know about the situation then it makes it easier for me to deal with because i knew what i was getting into by already knowing and having a CHOICE.

    Not knowing might cause me to react a little differently or be taken back by the whole situation. Its always easier to react to a situation when you are PREPARED for it.

    So with that being said if teams want to know what they are getting into with Te’o (as was mentioned it would be a big story if it got out) to be better prepared then i see nothing wrong with it.

    Of course this is all opinion.

  26. L.Johnson is wondering why all the fuss. He was asked by the Bengals to remember numbers and state them at the end of the interview GASP.

  27. Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that two executives told Breer it’s the one question they’d ask Te’o, if they could. “He’s awful dreamy, but we’re so nervous!” the two were heard to remark. “Slip him this note asking if he likes us, or likes us likes us! *giggle* shhh!”

  28. Its just sad that you could be a dog killer, Drunk Driver, Drug Addict, Rapist, woman beater, or involuntarily kill someone with a car.. But if your gay its an NFL death Sentence. namely due to the Media storm and players in the lockeroom being idiots.

    Dumbass Artie Lang said it the best, The NFL needs a gay Jackie Robinson

  29. It is illegal to ask these questions in a workplace environment. When he answered on Katie Couric, he was not on a job interview. Its not any different than when you interview a 9 month pregnant woman. YOu can not ask about her being pregnant.

    We all either think Te’o is gay or are curius as to if he is but its not about the sexuality. I think everybody wants to know to see how the whole scandel could have been impacted if he were gay…As far as him being a “gay” football player, I dont think its relevant at all. id assume that there would be several in the league as we speak.

    a far more relevant issue would be his poor showing against Alabama and at the combine.
    Its football, shouldnt we keep it about football?

  30. It SHOULD be legal to ask about sexual preference, and it should ALSO be legal to discriminate on that basis. There are some people who are VERY uncomfortable around queer people, and if you knew bringing in someone like that was going to be disruptive to your business, even if you have no feelings one way or the other about it, you should have the right to question that and to decline to hire someone on that basis if you choose to. The libs in our society have forced political correctness down our throats to the point it makes me want to gag.

  31. I say haul these executives arses along with Goddell up to Congress and ask them why they feel they don’t have to abide by Equal Employment Opportunity laws!

    Being gay doesn’t mean “less qualified.”

  32. After reading some of these responses I am thrilled that it is perfectly legal to discriminate against bigots.

  33. I still fail to see how anything that happened equates to Te’o being gay. The entire story was built upon the fact that Te’o believed he was talking to a girl and they even played audio of a call where the guy used a convincing girl’s voice. Online relationships aren’t unique for people under 25, and just because you have one doesn’t equal being gay. Most of these football people who keep questioning Te’o probably have kids that are in online relationships just like Te’o was. Get a clue old fogies!

  34. It’s hilarious that these big, tough “men” are afraid of what a gay man would do to locker room chemistry. Do they really think an openly gay man would start tickling them in the shower, maybe redecorate the locker room in pink? It’s ludicrous.

    I wish they showed the same concern about having a drunk driver or a wife beater in the locker room.

  35. I wanna shower with the girls. It’s no big deal or anything, I’m just a person like they are.

  36. Legitimate question for an employer in this league. Let him set the record straight after his little publicity stunt.

  37. The idea that a gay person would upset team chemistry is the kind of thing a person with a very low IQ would say.

  38. It is the off season, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that IMO, inflammatory articles are being posted.

    If the media didn’t make such a big deal about people’s sexuality, this would be a non-issue. But don’t kid yourself, the first person that admits they are gay will have his team flooded with media. A huge distraction created by the media.

  39. If it makes women uncomfortable when I shower with them that’s just too bad. Like, as if I’m interested in every girl I see! Girlfriend please!

  40. The real issue is the lying about the “girlfriend”, the weird confession of the guy that was complicit, the wide-eyed deer in the headlights response from the kid who gets way too much press… I could go on.He sucked at the combine, bad smell!! You didn’t post my last one, will you post this?

  41. Albie Breer is a little sweet himself….maybe his gaydar not working around Manti.

    Most guy however…would severely get nervous dropping a bar of soap in front of T Suggs.

  42. I know this won’t be posted, but I’ll say it anyway…

    It’s so freakin’ funny that there’s a discussion about open mindedness on a site that panders to an audience that loses its mind at the mere mention of the Rooney Rule!

  43. Who cares!!! I can’t stress this enough. THIS IS FOOTBALL, NOT TMZ!

    Football is so tabloid now it’s disgusting.

  44. I assume that people that think that having a gay person in an NFL locker room is a bad idea would have thought back in the day that the Dodgers should have not hired Jackie Robinson because of that same thing called “team chemistry”.

  45. I think NFL owners will draft ANYONE who can help them win football games. Regardless of ANYTHING. They have drafted prospects from all walks of life, races, and even proven criminals.

    It’s not a big story that they are curious about his orientation. During this process, they want to know EVRYTHING about a prospect but it doesn’t neccesarily mean they won’t draft them. Assuming discrimination based on orientation, is really not fair to the NFL.

  46. I don’t think you have a “low IQ” if you think it would upset chemistry if their was a gay player on the team. Like it or not, there are lots of intolerant players in the NFL and other leagues – just not all of them are stupid enough to voice those opinions like Garrison Hearst and Tim Hardaway infamously did. Even if every member of the front office was cool with it, and every coach, and 95% of the players, that’s still a handful of guys who are gonna be real pissed off bc they have a gay teammate.

    Let’s say this hypothetical gay player is a linebacker like Te’o (not saying he’s gay, just an example) – and he’s got a DT playing in front of him who hates him for it. Do you think he’s going to try to occupy blockers to help him out? I’d hope he would for his own sake if nothing else, but you never know how a guy thinks. What if the gay player is the LT and the QB doesn’t like gays either? Maybe he’ll say forget this guy and let his man come screaming off the blindside to take him out (not condemning or excusing a guy for doing that, but again you never know)

    All of this is aside from the fact that if the media ever caught wind of it, it’d be a three ring circus big enough to make Woody Johnson blush.

  47. whatnojets says:
    Feb 28, 2013 4:12 PM
    If no one drafts him, I smell a BIG, BIG discrimination law suit in the horizon!!!
    ————————————————————

    This is what’s going to take America down. Seriously, what is wrong with any team as a potential employer telling him “Your combine results weren’t impressive and we are not looking forward to the media storm you could possibly bring to our locker room?” It seems to me that they have every right to feel that way and should act upon it. They don’t owe him a damn thing.

  48. Don’t be gay Sparky, don’t be gay! Is this what it’s coming down to? Just stop! Please just stop.

  49. We have media people who’ve never been on a team saying an openly gay player wouldn’t be a distraction and we have people who are actually part of teams saying an openly gay player would definitely be a distraction…so who do you think we believe?

  50. Just think of all the gay men that have already come and gone through NFL locker rooms over the years and will continue to do so. Hopefully over time people will be free to be themselves but it won’t be overnight.It’s just that it’s a more intimate setting than an office, and instead of standing by the water cooler you’re naked in the shower next to another man. Not exactly the kind of place where you want to sing “It’s raining men” at the top of your lungs.

  51. Teams could care less on fans opinions or morals.
    Hire a investigator or detective. Should not be hard to get to “the bottom” of that “sticky point”.
    They sign the check, do what ya gotta do.

  52. I’

    I’d be more concerned with how he got mauled by the Alabama offensive line. So much so that he was rendered irrelevant in the National Championship Game.

    As far as if he’s gay… I think it comes down to each coach/GM evaluating whether it can work in their locker room. I’d imagine some locker rooms are more mature than others.

  53. I just wanna confirm that I have no interest in asking anyone if Mike Florio is sexy. I already know that he is.

  54. So now we’re all suppose to pretend like there’s nothing wrong with that, when in actual fact there is?

  55. Well the NFL executives could take a page out of the real LT’s playbook. Hire a really hot call girl to pay Te’o a visit….

    I don’t think the answer lies in is he or isn’t he. I don’t think Te’o is gay. I think his problem is it looks to me like he’s dominated by his parents. Just seemed that way from watching his interview with Couric he kept saying he wants to please him. So it isn’t a matter of finding a GF. It’s finding one they would approve of. I was waiting for Te’o to say his parents still give him a curfew….

  56. wrenches2pipes says:Feb 28, 2013 5:36 PM

    Can the team scouts ask him if he has any Liberace records or C.D’s ?
    ———————————————————

    ^^^^^^Underrated post!!!^^^^^^^

  57. Just when I thought we were turning a corner towards enlightenment in this country, I read internet comments and realize how low we truly are.

  58. Its OK for an employer to not want to deal with the Tebow “circus” that the media is almost solely responsible for but now the media says it’s not OK for a team to want no part of the first openly gay NFL player? Awesome. The media creates a lot of this “circus” type stuff and then bashes people for it like when there were groups basically camped out at Brett Favres driveway and bashing him for wanting the attention. I know Favre’s a glory seeker but did he actually ask anyone to follow him around or come to Mississippi?

  59. Why would teams ask if he’s gay after he already told Katie Couric he wasn’t? Gee I don’t know, maybe because he had a fake girlfriend and then LIED ABOUT IT FOR MONTHS TO THE WHOLE WORLD?

    This is the very definition of what is a fair and appropriate to ask in an employment interview. If this guy goes higher than the 4th round it will be because the NFL pressured somebody to take him. This guy has more red (pink?) flags around him than anyone I’ve ever seen.

  60. Its ok to ask dez bryant if his mother is a prostitute , but you cant ask teo his sex? Cant a christian owner simply say god destroyed sodom and gamorrah because the bible states sodomy angers god….Well doesn’t the owners right to his beliefs come before his possible employee ?

  61. No matter where Te’o is drafted or how he pans out in the NFL, the blogs about him on tis site sure get a ton on comments. And in the end…that’s all the media cares about.

  62. NFL teams absolutely have the right to know any information that could impact the team and the reality is that a gay player would impact the team.

    Why can liberals never confront reality? They are very comfortable telling other people what they should do whe they don’t have to live with the results. They just pass judgement from that high horse.

    In reality, a GM is a real person who will get fired in real life if the team starts losing because of a distraction.

    It’s the same reason why many teams would not want Tebow. He will be a distraction. There is no political agenda involved here by the GMs.

    It’s so easy to claim the moral high ground and say that you’d sign a gay player and to heck with the fallout because you’re righteous.

    It’s much harder to be the guy who actually does it and gets fired because team unity broke down and you went 6-10.

  63. For the sake of team chemistry here’s what I would ask:

    “Would a gay teammate bother you?” Anyone who says yes is off my board.

    I’m sure you’d coach a great team. Is that you, Rich Kotite?

  64. Jeff Garcia got along alright with the 49’ers and he once had an interview while walking his little “Foo-Foo” dog to the pet shop for a shampoo and clipping ! He didn’t destroy the continuity of the team and Jeff was “Flaming” in his behavior, LOL !!!!! Has he come out the closet yet ????

  65. Si what are the rules, I mean guidelines, for a team to hire an attractive man to bump into him in the hallways to strike up an innocent convo? And which team already tried it first?

  66. pixelito says:
    Feb 28, 2013 5:28 PM
    The idea that a gay person would upset team chemistry is the kind of thing a person with a very low IQ would say.
    —————————————————————-
    I’m guessing that in high school, your idea of a “team activity” was the Pep Squad, not football.

  67. pixelito says:
    Feb 28, 2013 5:28 PM
    The idea that a gay person would upset team chemistry is the kind of thing a person with a very low IQ would say.
    ———————-

    How so? Te’o is trying to play in the NFL, where media scrutiny follows players and teams at an ungodly rate 24/7. Everything is a potential story, and it can indeed cause distractions for the team that drafts or signs him as an undrafted free agent.

    Te’o is not seeking to work at Duane Reade or Shop Rite, where your assertion would carry more weight.

  68. randomcommenter,

    I don’t understand. Why is it the left pushes their agenda, but you aren’t pushing yours?

    I also don’t understand how hard it is to… wait for it…

    NOT DRAFT HIM.

    Is there any liberal, anywhere, that is going to FORCE you to draft Manti Te’o?

    But apparently we liberals are forcing our agenda by demanding that you conservatives… you know… follow the law.

  69. Many NFL teams have very solid core fan bases. For such teams, few, if any, will dump their team if a player comes out as gay, especially if he’s a really good player. It’s 2013 and the minority of people still grossly uncomfortable with the reality that gays are everywhere is forever shrinking. More likely is that new fans will get interested and start cheering that team. Yeah, it will be a big media deal for a while, until the 2nd guy says, yeah, me too.

  70. They are very comfortable telling other people what they should do whe they don’t have to live with the results. They just pass judgement from that high horse.

    Dear Kettle,

    You’re black!

    Signed,
    The Pot

  71. Really??? This is so pathetic that they are allowed to ask such degrading questions to these kids that are coming in from school. Stick to the more relevant questions about performance and leadership.

  72. Really? Who cares? Can these guys just get over themselves? The odds are there are already gay men in the NFL. And when they are done playing I hope they use this article and other players comments to sue the league for discrimination. Get over yourselves and grow up. Articles like this only feed into ignorant attitudes.

    And before all the ignorant comments come rolling in about a female working in sports and loving football, I am looking forward to my 18th anniversary this year with my husband. I was just lucky enough to have parents that raised me to judge people on Who they are, not What they are. Too bad the rest of the sports community wasn’t so lucky.

  73. Any GM thinking of drafting him should be aware of the intense media scrutiny (at least in the initial days) this guy is going to attract.
    The team is going to be Teo’ed (an obvious reference to the attention grabbing antics of a certain TO)

  74. You are kind of a jerk by putting all this stupid middle-aged white people angst on the guy (as well as on RGIII)

    Really dude – you’ve made more than enough of this

  75. “because it’s relevant to how they’d fit in””

    Fine. Then why aren’t they asking players if they are racist? That can’t go over well in the locker room, either

  76. Seems like we keep repeating the same mistakes of the past over and over. The same arguments against gays were used against minorities in the past, people will be uncomfortable, they will disrupt the locker room, same B.S. arguments. The ironic thing is that there are already gay players in every locker room in the NFL. People are so stupid!!

  77. The only “mistake” repeatedly being made is people constantly trying to draw parallels between racial discrimination and resistance to gays trying to “normalize” (i.e. push their agenda) onto everyone else, while they claim people are trying to do the same to them.

  78. Pinion8ed, what? You are saying Te’0 would not fit in if he were gay? I’m sorry. You are ignorant AND stupid. Ask ND players who their leader was. Your premise flies in the face of that fact. He was, flat out, the most inspirational player at ND in decades, but your assumption is that this simply cannot be true… right? Because of what you know about gay people? about football? about life? Huh? Think. The man was an amazing leader there. Do you really think the NFL would be that different?

  79. As far as I know, it’s illegal for an employer to ask about the sexual orientation of a prospective employee!

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