To little fanfare and no surprise, the NFL officially has closed the books on the investigation that was sparked by accounts of inappropriate questions being posed to incoming rookies (also known as “job applicants”) at the Scouting Combine.
According to Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, the NFL found no wrongdoing.
“Our review has not established any specific violations, but we have made it clear to our clubs what is acceptable when interviewing potential players and other job candidates,” a league spokesman told Freeman.
So is the NFL saying that Colorado tight end Nick Kasa wasn’t asked, “Do you like girls?” No. As Judy Battista of the New York Times reported two weeks ago, the NFL has concluded that this specific question wasn’t part of the job interview. Even though it was asked during, you know, a job interview.
In no other industry would a question like this be unpunished. But that’s largely because the NFL is one of the few industries in which a question like this will lead to no liability.
The NFL doesn’t hire players who walk in off the street and fill out an application and wait to get a call back from the manager. Players who make it to the Scouting Combine already are products of the football machine. They realize that, from time to time, things that otherwise would seem inappropriate will be said.
Besides, they just want to play football. Filing a lawsuit against the NFL will tend to keep that from happening (unless they sue for concussions). Football players always will choose the chance to play football over the hard-to-prove notion that someone else got a roster spot because the team believed the player who wasn’t chosen or who ultimately was cut is gay.
So with no outside accountability to fear, the NFL has no reason to transform a situation that easily can be swept under the rug into a story that stretches over multiple news cycles and that lingers longer than the scent of a woman whom a player may or may not like.
And who really cares if he does?