The Falcons may not do anything more (even though they should) about the decision of an assistant coach to ask cornerback Eli Apple whether he “likes men” during a Scouting Combine interview. The NFL possibly will.
“This is disappointing and clearly inappropriate as the Falcons acknowledged,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email on Friday afternoon. “We will look into it.”
Whether and to what extent the league imposes discipline will be another matter. Players in the past have been asked inappropriate questions during the pre-draft process. In 2010, former Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland asked receiver Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. In 2013, a team asked tight end Nick Kasa if he likes girls. In both cases, no significant (or possibly any) punishment was imposed.
For all the proclamations that the NFL has no issues at all with openly gay players in locker rooms, questions about whether a player likes girls or likes men suggest curiosity about irrelevant matters at best, discrimination regarding irrelevant matters at worst. The fact that these questions are still being asked even after Michael Sam declared his sexuality before the 2014 draft suggests that the league may indeed not be ready for an openly gay player — and it helps explain why any and all gay players in the NFL choose to remain discreet about their orientation.