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NFL reminds teams of sexual orientation guidelines

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The NFL’s investigation regarding questions posed during Scouting Combine interviews regarding whether the recruits “like girls” concluded that those questions weren’t actually part of the interview.

The next team(s) that ask those questions may not be quite as lucky.

The league has issued a one-page set of guidelines regarding sexual orientation, under the heading of the league’s “ongoing commitment to excellence in workplace conduct.”  The document explains that teams “must not seek information concerning or make personnel decisions based on a player’s sexual orientation.”  (The recovering lawyer in me is compelled to point out that the words “known or perceived” should have been added to the end.)

Along these lines, teams can’t ask questions such as:  “Do you like women or men?  How well do you do with the ladies?  Do you have a girlfriend?”

Some teams would say that those questions are asked in order to determine the player’s commitment level to football, and whether he simply is playing the game to get money and, in turn, “the ladies.”  But the league is taking the smart position on questions of this nature, since it can be cover for determining whether a player is or could be gay, a factor that in close cases could (in theory) prompt the team to pick a different player.  If a team is concerned that a player may be a poseur Casanova who wants to play in the NFL simply to enhance his ability to attract “the ladies,” they’ll have to find other ways to get to the truth.

The rest of the document contains the typical lawyer-driven CYA language (yeah, I used to write stuff like this all the time, and I don’t miss it at all) that will likely go in one ear and out the other of most players, coaches, and scouts.  The sheet ultimately will be meaningless without some sort of interactive training program aimed at showing the players, coaches, and scouts real-life examples in a way that engages the intended audience.

The question for the NFL isn’t whether a team is willing to embrace a gay player; we think most if not all are.  The question is whether a team is willing to embrace the potential distractions that would come from a gay player becoming the first gay player to come out during his career.  The first time it happens, it will be a major distraction, as the media descends with Super Bowl week intensity on team headquarters to get a quote from anyone and everyone about the situation.

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12 Responses to “NFL reminds teams of sexual orientation guidelines”
  1. germanstingray says: Apr 29, 2013 10:58 AM

    Maybe the teams could just ask what brand of moisturizer each player prefers. Alternatively, the might also inquire how often each prospect get a pedicure.

  2. stung4ever1983 says: Apr 29, 2013 11:04 AM

    There’s also a mental toughness aspect to these interview questions. If team executives are able to provoke a negative reaction in controlled circumstances, they’ll have to wonder how the player would react in game situations when opposing fans and opposing players get on him.


  3. bmoritz2003 says: Apr 29, 2013 11:16 AM

    Give it a freakin’ rest Florio. You’re almost as bad as Kluwe whining about losing his job because he speaks out for gay rights, when he hasn’t even lost his job yet. Shut up!

  4. bonzai2oo says: Apr 29, 2013 11:20 AM

    “The question for the NFL isn’t whether a team is willing to embrace a gay player; we think most if not all are.” …so the players and teams understand it’s a non-story.

    “The first time it happens, it will be a major distraction, as the media descends with Super Bowl week intensity on team headquarters to get a quote from anyone and everyone about the situation,” …but the media still can’t come to grips with current values.

    More power to the media that ignore this stupid story altogether.

  5. whatafungame says: Apr 29, 2013 11:30 AM

    Stop pushing this gay agenda on everyone. Its the selfish disease. Its not okay to just do whatever you feel in life. Praise jesus

  6. barneyrumble says: Apr 29, 2013 11:41 AM

    Jason Collins just came out and is a current NBA player, making him the first active pro athlete to openly announce while still playing. So the genie is out of the bottle and soon an NFL player will follow.

  7. FinFan68 says: Apr 29, 2013 11:47 AM

    Who will be the next protected class of citizens? Gender, check. Race, check. Sexual orientation, check. Dumb people get a pass in sports because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to run fast. Dopers are starting to get a pass as well now while smokers and overweight people seem to be fair game for any and all criticism. What about religious preference? Some religions can’t be criticized but others are bashed with a vengeance. What other category of person will be the next one deemed inferior and in need of protection by mindless lawyers chasing $$

  8. huskersrock1 says: Apr 29, 2013 11:56 AM

    Let’s see the net present value of future US obligations is over 90 trillion dollars, the debt is over 16 trillion, SS will be bankrupt in about 10 years and Medicare in 12; and the left wants to talk about gay marriage.

    Distraction anyone?

  9. joetoronto says: Apr 29, 2013 11:57 AM

    It looks like Florio has milked this subject for all it’s worth.

    The hits are gone, Mike. Give it a rest.

  10. sabatimus says: Apr 29, 2013 12:09 PM

    Jason Collins actually currently isn’t a player–he’s a free agent.

  11. jayniner says: Apr 29, 2013 12:18 PM

    Here’s a great story: Heterosexual players who are still married to the woman they had multiple kids with and being a positive role model and instilling values into their kids that will stay with them for the rest of their lives……

    … mean that wouldn’t be an “edgy” news story with shock value?

  12. FinFan68 says: Apr 29, 2013 12:44 PM

    I expect a piece any minute on the changed landscape since a current NBA player has just announced he is gay. All those reporters must be descending on him and his teammates as we speak (type)

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