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Falcons apologize for inappropriate Combine interview question

Atlanta Falcons Introduce Dan Quinn Getty Images

We’ve heard about some strange questions being asked by coaches and scouts as part of the interview process at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Falcons have acknowledged that one of their coaches asked an inappropriate one last week in a meeting with former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.

Apple said during an appearance on Comcast SportsNet’s Breakfast On Broad Friday that a Falcons coach asked him if he liked men. The Falcons offered an apology for the question via a statement attributed to head coach Dan Quinn.

“I am really disappointed in the question that was asked by one of our coaches,” Quinn said. “I have spoken to the coach that interviewed Eli Apple and explained to him how inappropriate and unprofessional this was. I have reiterated this to the entire coaching staff and I want to apologize to Eli for this even coming up. This is not what the Atlanta Falcons are about and it is not how we are going to conduct ourselves.”

On the show Friday, Apple said the question was “the first thing he asked me. It was weird. I was just like, ‘no.’ He was like, ‘if you’re going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that’s how it is around here, you’re going to have to get used to it.’ I guess he was joking but they just ask most of these questions to see how you’re going to react.”

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94 Responses to “Falcons apologize for inappropriate Combine interview question”
  1. pastanow says: Mar 4, 2016 1:28 PM

    Who ever asked that should be terminated immediately. What a train wreck of a coaching staff Quinn has assembled. From Shannhan on down. Disgraceful.

  2. therealraider says: Mar 4, 2016 1:28 PM

    I think the coach was coming on to him.

  3. hoops737 says: Mar 4, 2016 1:31 PM

    Classless organization. It’s no wonder they don’t have a Super Bowl Ring

  4. PFT-made-me-change-my-handle says: Mar 4, 2016 1:33 PM

    Coaches are just trying to break the whole “trained robot” interviewee mentality. Probably could have been more tactful.

  5. jvw1982 says: Mar 4, 2016 1:34 PM

    Screw the apology, these guys shouldn’t be allowed to ask a question that any employer across the country can’t ask…its time to dock them a draft pick, take a 5th round pick from these clowns and I bet they will treat potential employees with a little more respect next time….

  6. sloiggles says: Mar 4, 2016 1:35 PM

    Probably didn’t want a prospective draft pick to be on Oprah’s network

  7. prideof10000lakes says: Mar 4, 2016 1:36 PM

    Well if he doesn’t get drafted for millions he can always sue for millions….

    Not sure if the interview standards apply to the combine, however.

  8. niners816 says: Mar 4, 2016 1:36 PM

    The question really just came out wrong. What he meant to ask was:

    “Hey Apple, if you were a fruit what kind of fruit would you be?”

  9. dallasfanindc says: Mar 4, 2016 1:37 PM

    The coach was 100% wrong with the question but I bet it was from a coach that keeps it’s real he exposing the young man to the nightlife he may encounter in the Atlanta Georgia area and yes it happens just like Coach says straight to the point from a man that may see him as an attractive future mate so the problem was the coach could have told him why he asked that question honestly maybe looking to see it would make him angry and violent in a community that this would really happen just like that. So could you handle this like a appropriate citizen or would he make the 5pm news and social media trending

  10. darkneptune73 says: Mar 4, 2016 1:38 PM

    They were better off asking “Do you like Girls?”

  11. joetorontoeatsdic says: Mar 4, 2016 1:38 PM

    At the very least this coach should be suspended or fined.

  12. niners816 says: Mar 4, 2016 1:39 PM

    I’m waiting for them to blame this on Apple Maps for taking them in the wrong direction.

  13. dallasfanindc says: Mar 4, 2016 1:39 PM

    A fine should be given to the team 100%

  14. buckhuckster says: Mar 4, 2016 1:41 PM

    I can think of questions Atlanta can ask that are more offensive. “Do you like winning?” is one of them.

  15. jeffcfalcon says: Mar 4, 2016 1:43 PM

    all of you commenters who are saying its wrong are just as much of a punk as this kid People need to get over it. It was a reaction question, to see how he handles it and he obviously failed because he is a punk. He should man up answer the question and move on.

  16. maestro1899 says: Mar 4, 2016 1:46 PM

    Inappropriate, perhaps. But I think he was just saying something that he thought would upset Eli Apple to see how he would react.

    But I’m sure the PC Police will try to get someone fired over this…

  17. ipskipskyblue says: Mar 4, 2016 1:49 PM

    Now I see what the problem is with the NFL, they have no idea how to interview.

    Who asks yes or no questions in an interview?

  18. mushroommike says: Mar 4, 2016 1:51 PM

    The fact that ou have o speak o the coach about how inappropriate this is speaks volumes about this coach.

  19. mazenblue says: Mar 4, 2016 1:52 PM

    Feelings get hurt easy in a game with emotional boys.

  20. kurtrundell says: Mar 4, 2016 1:57 PM

    Since professional teams are investing so much money (you know, hundreds of thousands to many millions) into their players, they should ask prospects whatever the hell they want. And if the player doesn’t like it, don’t draft him. Screw’em. Teams should get as much info as possible to determine whether or not he’ll fit into the organization. People nowadays are so soft.

  21. thejohnsmith1122 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:01 PM

    A reporter should ask Falcons coaches, GMs, or owners at if they like men at every opportunity during press conferences. See how they feel and how relevant it is to doing their job effectively.

  22. dalvar1001 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:02 PM

    The appropriate response was a right cross just for asking a stupid and irrelevant question.

  23. firstdownbrowns says: Mar 4, 2016 2:05 PM

    just when you think you have heard them all

  24. tomtravis76 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:07 PM

    It’s kind of illegal on the state and federal level for a potential employer to ask a candidate their sexual preference.

  25. caeser12 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:12 PM

    And if he did?

    As long as he can play football, what’s the problem?

  26. collectordude says: Mar 4, 2016 2:13 PM

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  27. jerry944 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:13 PM

    Its time the nfl starts following the same laws as the rest of the corporate wprld follows in this country..if i went for an interview with a company and was asked that question i would own that company..

  28. theravishingrachelnichols says: Mar 4, 2016 2:14 PM

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  29. flexx91 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:19 PM

    maestro1899 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 1:46 PM

    Inappropriate, perhaps. But I think he was just saying something that he thought would upset Eli Apple to see how he would react.

    But I’m sure the PC Police will try to get someone fired over this…
    __________________________________

    Do you understand the difference between something being “PC” versus illegal?

  30. TheBrownsareClowns says: Mar 4, 2016 2:23 PM

    Im beginning to think 95% of owners, and 85% of players and coaches in the NFL are flat out scumbags. I know 100% of NFL attorneys and the Commissioner is a scumbag

  31. mmack66 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:26 PM

    jeffcfalcon says:
    Mar 4, 2016 1:43 PM

    all of you commenters who are saying its wrong are just as much of a punk as this kid People need to get over it. It was a reaction question, to see how he handles it and he obviously failed because he is a punk. He should man up answer the question and move on.
    —————————–

    So answering “no” to the question of whether he likes men is an obvious failure?

  32. Rdog says: Mar 4, 2016 2:26 PM

    Ladies and gentlemen: I present to you the Pete Carroll coaching tree!

  33. struckgold49er says: Mar 4, 2016 2:27 PM

    I may be wrong, but I’d be willing to believe “Coach” Bryan Cox asked him that stupid and idiotic question…

  34. mrpkg says: Mar 4, 2016 2:31 PM

    Does anyone remember when Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland asked Dez Bryant during a pre-draft visit whether his mother was a prostitute?

  35. rolltide510 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:33 PM

    This entire ridiculous concept of asking stupid questions in combine interviews to “see how they react” needs to be scrapped forever. There’s never been any value to it, it’s just this odd legacy of the NFL.

  36. eagles777 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:36 PM

    The answer: DO YOU?

  37. huh6016 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:39 PM

    heck, i would have laughed and then looked at the coach and “you’re just my type”…… but to whine about it …… really…… what a girl…….

  38. smarterfootball says: Mar 4, 2016 2:45 PM

    It actually is not illegal in the state of Georgia to ask this kind of question. Especially if he attributes it to the job as he did.
    Not saying it isn’t inappropriate but he broke no law.

  39. skinsdiehard says: Mar 4, 2016 2:46 PM

    I will continue to say that NFL coaches are some of the stupidest people in the world. Continue to say the stupidest things and draw the most questionable conclusions about players and issues all the time. It’s amazing.

  40. bpearse230 says: Mar 4, 2016 2:51 PM

    Definitely Bryan Cox

  41. weepingjebus says: Mar 4, 2016 2:51 PM

    In the Falcons’ defense, that question was illegally piped in from somewhere else.

  42. brianjoates says: Mar 4, 2016 3:00 PM

    The state of Georgia has deemed it legal to ask a potential hire for a business to be asked their sexual preference?

    It was a dumb question,but the HR departments need to be on the same page with their coaches in how to conduct interviews. What if the guy said yes and wasn’t hired? The laws were set up to protect everyone, not special laws for the NFL.

  43. ragnarthegreat says: Mar 4, 2016 3:04 PM

    folks before we fire anyone and wreck their lives, let’s review…

    Have I ever said or asked anything stupid?

    If the answer is no, you need to listen to yourself a little more closely.

  44. rex2020 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:08 PM

    Sounds like he was hitting on him. If Atlanta wants to save face suspend or fire the coach.
    Illegal or not….pretty weird question. But hey if he likes guys at least the chances of physically abusing his partner go down

  45. theuglitruth says: Mar 4, 2016 3:08 PM

    Its clear, Quinn has lost control of his coaching staff.

  46. Johnny Styles says: Mar 4, 2016 3:12 PM

    What they should have asked was if he liked gladiator movies and if he’d seen the inside of a Turkish prison.

  47. bobC927 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:13 PM

    WOW! More than 40 replies and no one has mentioned Belichick.

  48. hairpie2 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:13 PM

    When are they going to apologize for 3 years of cheating by pumping in fake crowd noise?

  49. bigtimebrownie says: Mar 4, 2016 3:13 PM

    “Eli, do you like movies about Gladiators?”

  50. destructicus says: Mar 4, 2016 3:19 PM

    kurtrundell says:
    Mar 4, 2016 1:57 PM

    Since professional teams are investing so much money (you know, hundreds of thousands to many millions) into their players, they should ask prospects whatever the hell they want…

    This is exactly the problem with this sort of question. The employer is in a place of power because they have the millions of dollars to give and obviously the player being interviewed does not.

    If the empowered employer can freely ask any question they can’t in essence buy a culture where by the traits they deem undesirable (which have no bearing on professional performance, ie: religion, sexual preference, skin color, mom’s being prostitutes, etc.) are erased from the work force.

    This isn’t a case of America being “soft”. It’s a matter of not letting bigots use their money to spread their ignorance and further the discrimination of minorities who are otherwise fully capable of performing the job at a high level.

    America isn’t being softer by being less discriminatory. If anything it’s becoming more Canadian, and have ever seen a hockey fight or a lacrosse fight… ? Both are DEFINITELY not soft.

  51. theofficialshotcaller says: Mar 4, 2016 3:31 PM

    “But hey if he likes guys at least the chances of physically abusing his partner go down”
    Lolll is that what you tell yourself? His “partner”‘s bloody exit hole says different

  52. bigbaldpapahawk says: Mar 4, 2016 3:31 PM

    He should have said “Yes and I dare you not to draft me now!”

  53. musicfootballprogramming says: Mar 4, 2016 3:32 PM

    Integrity.

  54. mmack66 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:35 PM

    bobC927 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 3:13 PM

    WOW! More than 40 replies and no one has mentioned Belichick.
    ———————

    Thanks for screwing it up.

  55. mmack66 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:40 PM

    ragnarthegreat says:
    Mar 4, 2016 3:04 PM

    folks before we fire anyone and wreck their lives, let’s review…

    Have I ever said or asked anything stupid?
    ————————-

    Yes, you have. It’s right up there.

  56. guitarkevin says: Mar 4, 2016 3:40 PM

    His answer should have been “No, that is why all my friends and associates are female”.

  57. financialmusingsblog says: Mar 4, 2016 3:42 PM

    Wo-men

  58. awerone says: Mar 4, 2016 3:48 PM

    Eli Apple: Hello
    Bryan Cox: Do you like guys?
    Eli Apple: WTF???
    Bryan Cox: If you’re going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that’s how it is around here, you’re going to have to get used to it.

  59. Modern Day Einstein says: Mar 4, 2016 3:48 PM

    I had to go watch an interview with him just to see if he came across that way…

    …After going back and reviewing the tape, kind of a dumb question.

    Super awkward.

  60. nouhoh64 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:50 PM

    Michael Sam

  61. goinghambo says: Mar 4, 2016 3:53 PM

    Maybe he just doesn’t want fags on his team?

  62. rayguyhof says: Mar 4, 2016 3:54 PM

    His answer should have been:
    “No, but I like your mother”

  63. wallabear says: Mar 4, 2016 3:57 PM

    You must “like men” to play on a sports team with them — is that what was meant? lol

  64. huggybear2014 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:59 PM

    The Progressive totalitarian movement has a new cause to March on the NFL. All the Jenner fan boys here that are upset, will rally along with the BLT community.

    These poor coaches don’t know who they are messing with. Conform!

    Brought to you Courtesy of the Progressive totalitarian movement and the DNC.

  65. bayousooner90 says: Mar 4, 2016 3:59 PM

    If this was the same Falcons coach that shoved the Cardinals scout he should receive an indefinite suspension from the league.

  66. streetyson says: Mar 4, 2016 4:00 PM

    He just wanted to see if the cornerback could spot when someone was making a poorly timed pass.

  67. bayousooner90 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:01 PM

    Quick answer “Why are you interested?”

  68. illegaluseofhands says: Mar 4, 2016 4:09 PM

    “Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”

  69. boisestatewhodat says: Mar 4, 2016 4:17 PM

    Wonder what Matty has been doing in the locker room…sheesh!

  70. whatjusthapped says: Mar 4, 2016 4:22 PM

    What a hoot, to read some of the responses on this web site, you would think its Gay Pride week on the Internet and we need to have a safe zone for the players.

    Give me a break, if that is insulting to the player, wait until he gets in a locker room full of real football players. This whole PC movement needs to stop and some of you guys need to grow a pair.

  71. ilovefoolsball says: Mar 4, 2016 4:24 PM

    Hey Falcons, Michael Sam is still available.

  72. bighawk46 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:31 PM

    Don’t want another Michael Sam peeping in the shower lmao

  73. huggybear2014 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:33 PM

    Safe spaces and purple markers gave us the “enlightened” folks, masquerading as men.

    Conform as they have.

    Courtesy of the Progressive totalitarian movement and the BLT with Mayo community.

  74. maestro1899 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:43 PM

    flexx91 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 2:19 PM
    maestro1899 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 1:46 PM

    Inappropriate, perhaps. But I think he was just saying something that he thought would upset Eli Apple to see how he would react.

    But I’m sure the PC Police will try to get someone fired over this…
    __________________________________

    Do you understand the difference between something being “PC” versus illegal?

    ———————————————————

    Evidently, not. What is illegal about what he said?

    I’m trying to think and I just can’t come up with how this would be illegal.

    The ATL coach didn’t discriminate against anyone, didn’t say that his answer is a condition of employment, didn’t say anything negative about gays.

    The coach said, “Do you like guys?”. He didn’t specifically say “in a sexual way”. Maybe he was talking about “the guys in the lockerroom” or “your friends” aka guys. We all can assume what he was implying, but again, he didn’t say anything specific about “are you gay” or “would you have a problem with a gay teammate”.

    Maybe part of what ATL was trying to get out of their line of questioning would be to see how he interpreted the question?

    Again, I don’t see how any of this is “illegal”.

    Poor taste? Perhaps. Illegal? Not even close.

  75. rufustfireflyjr says: Mar 4, 2016 5:08 PM

    What they SHOULD apologize for is their utter collapse during the second half of last season

  76. corporatemediaprostitute says: Mar 4, 2016 5:12 PM

    “Give me a break, if that is insulting to the player, wait until he gets in a locker room full of real football players. This whole PC movement needs to stop and some of you guys need to grow a pair.”

    You cannot convince me the dude who posted this hasn’t had one in him.

  77. oldcracker says: Mar 4, 2016 5:33 PM

    He played for TheOSU, right? Ask the Spartans from MSU about the Buckeyes.

  78. lawrinson20 says: Mar 4, 2016 5:41 PM

    What year is it in Atlanta?

  79. rex2020 says: Mar 4, 2016 6:12 PM

    It sucks to a certain degree but this is a pc world. What is missed here, maybe so everybody relax, Atlanta is a football team and a business. The NFL is a business. Anybody knows that but if a employee for a said business in the NFL says something that might hurt business or insult any group….they are more the likely gonna come down on them.
    Business and entertainment are subject to the social media. Most if not all here are not. Speaking for myself….thank god! Sorry but in these times you have to be smarter. Yes it’s hard we are all human and say dumb things just like someone here said. Yup! Very true. Unfortunately the rules are s different nowadays. Stills weird thing to ask. Love the “airplane movie” comments!!! Hysterical

  80. breadmeatcheese says: Mar 4, 2016 6:13 PM

    Ron Rivera and Josh Norman are ardent proponents and supporters of hate speech such as this.

  81. uglydingo says: Mar 4, 2016 6:15 PM

    Why didn’t the Head Coach immediately apologize to Eli Apple in the meeting? Why did it take this information being revealed in the media to extract a statement of apology?
    Dan Quinn and the GM and a room full of other Falcon heavies should have immediately addressed the matter on the spot.

  82. nflfollower says: Mar 4, 2016 8:02 PM

    Who cares? Part of any interview is how you respond to unexpected questions. They dont care if he likes women men or both. Much ado about nothing. All of society has gone soft. Everybody wants to be free from anything that makes them uncomfortable or is the least bit offensive. Microagressions and the like. I am left shaking my head.

  83. ymca2014 says: Mar 4, 2016 8:14 PM

    That’s how they questioned Tony Montana at the beginning of Scarface.

  84. acehawk55 says: Mar 4, 2016 8:58 PM

    Ladies and gentleman, Rdog is a moron for saying this is a result of the “Pete Carroll coaching tree” Its one of Dan Quinn’s assistants who likely never coached on Pete Carroll’s teams. Also, Carroll would never allow one of his assistants to ask such a dumb question. He’s the most inclusive coach in the NFL.

  85. lingsun54 says: Mar 4, 2016 9:34 PM

    The question was nothing to get excited about.

  86. hawkwind8 says: Mar 4, 2016 9:58 PM

    The political correctification of this county has been completed. Congratulations to all of you who responded to our survey.

    “Classless organization. It’s no wonder they don’t have a Super Bowl Ring”

    “At the very least this coach should be suspended or fined.”

    “A fine should be given to the team 100%”

    “It’s kind of illegal on the state and federal level for a potential employer to ask a candidate their sexual preference.”

    I am sure that Ellen DeGenerous and Oprah Winfrey are proud of you all.

  87. huggybear2014 says: Mar 4, 2016 10:38 PM

    Conform!

  88. bigdog2372 says: Mar 4, 2016 10:40 PM

    The answer to that question shouldn’t really matter, but why is it forbidden to ask it? Are we that soft as a society now that we aren’t allowed to ask a simple question? I’m failing to see why it’s such a ridiculous and offensive question. If they want to know, they want to know. Teams ask all kinds of questions that don’t really matter, most of the time it’s not really the answer that they are interested in, but the process and poise with which it is answered. Why is this particular one off limits?

  89. itstee503 says: Mar 4, 2016 10:43 PM

    People act like these type of questions weren’t asked before at the combine. He is just the first punk to come out and say he was asked that question. Should have just kept quiet and moved on instead of telling the media.

  90. themboys5150 says: Mar 4, 2016 11:45 PM

    As someone mentioned earlier, The Dolphins did ask Dez if his Mom was a Ho.. That is correct, No Fine, No suspension. Sorry, They don’t work normal jobs like us, So save all your ” You can’t ask an employee That Type of question” and what happened to Jeff Ireland for asking Dez, Your MaMa a Ho??? Nothing.. Get over it..

  91. 504in860 says: Mar 5, 2016 12:15 AM

    Falcons are a joke of an organization.

  92. pslbucfan says: Mar 5, 2016 2:17 AM

    dalvar1001 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 2:02 PM
    The appropriate response was a right cross just for asking a stupid and irrelevant question.
    ———————–
    So the appropriate answer to an interview question you deem innapropriate is a right cross??? I’m guessing you haven’t made it through any high level interviews. If I was asked the same question, after a good laugh I’d answer no and move on. If however, I did lean that direction, I’d say why yes I do, next? All these PC Nancy’s that can’t tolerate a question out of their comfort zone need to move on to an environment won’t in any way offend their sensitive sensibilities. PETA perhaps?

  93. pslbucfan says: Mar 5, 2016 2:20 AM

    Anyone advocating for firing this individual is as miguided as the coach asking the question. The coach should get a talking to on our current PC culture and MOVE ON.

  94. balt88 says: Mar 5, 2016 2:37 AM

    What do you expect from an organization that straight up cheats by piping in noise when the visiting teams are in the huddle.

    What’s worse is that Blank doesn’t think that Goodell can do any wrong and supports him 100% of the time…

    Gutless and classless…what a franchise.

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