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NFL will look into Falcons’ questioning of Eli Apple

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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.

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54 Responses to “NFL will look into Falcons’ questioning of Eli Apple”
  1. weepingjebus says: Mar 4, 2016 4:29 PM

    The Falcons just wanted to make sure he will fit in with their legendarily flamboyant and permissive culture.

  2. pastanow says: Mar 4, 2016 4:30 PM

    First round draft pick gone should teach them a lesson. The organization needs to fire whoever asked the question and Quinn needs to do more than apologize.

  3. ebbycalvinlaloosh says: Mar 4, 2016 4:33 PM

    It’s illegal to ask about sexual orientation; it’s NOT illegal to ask if someone’s mom is a prostitute. Important difference.

  4. bobulated says: Mar 4, 2016 4:35 PM

    ‘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 almost think that the coach in some ham-fisted, ignorant and bumbling manner was trying to somehow warn Apple that the ATL has a large and thriving LGBT community and wondering if he had problem with the LGBT lifestyle. Still an incredibly stupid thing to ask/say but not sure it’s worth any sort of punitive action beyond a warning and some training.

  5. joe2jerry says: Mar 4, 2016 4:37 PM

    On the other side of things, if you’ve been to a game lately the fans yell out a bunch of stuff at the players along the sideline (as well as when they see players in public). Wouldn’t you want to know how a person will react to that long before you give him millions? Remember how Ryan Leaf charged the stands (and a reporter) or Chris Everret jumped Jim Rome for implying he was a girl? Seems like you’d want to push these guys a bit before you draft them to see how they handle themselves.

  6. feckyerlife says: Mar 4, 2016 4:39 PM

    the NFL is becoming too PC. might as well get rid of tackling while your at it

  7. mmack66 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:39 PM

    Sure they will.

  8. petedutcherjr says: Mar 4, 2016 4:39 PM

    I see nothing wrong with asking the question.

    Heck, maybe the guy wanted a date!

  9. patsbrat says: Mar 4, 2016 4:40 PM

    Don’t forget the player who was asked if he thought his mom was hot earlier in this year’s combine.

  10. amaf21 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:41 PM

    This organization cannot get out of its own way. Piping in crowd noise, completely collapsing after going on a 6 game losing streak, now this. Shameful.

  11. sportmigos says: Mar 4, 2016 4:41 PM

    I dont watch football to find out whose Gay, whose sleeping with who, or if they have kids, or if there developing debilitating brain injurys for my amusement. No fans care about any of that stuff we only care about if they can get after that QB and win me a championship without turning my kid into being Gay or a concussion. – PFTCommenter

  12. 1969mojo says: Mar 4, 2016 4:46 PM

    Dummies forgot to add “Not that there’s anything wrong with it” to the end of the question.

  13. charliecharger says: Mar 4, 2016 4:48 PM

    I wouldn’t ask the NFL to muzzle any of these coaches. It gives the players an opportunity to see which teams employ idiots. If you’re a kid that just got out of college, I’d think you’d want to join an organization that was run by half way intelligent people. The Falcons have a fortune invested in big name scouts and front office people. I think it would be in their best interest to tell the coaches to just stay home.

  14. cfos00 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:51 PM

    They are aware that the question is actually illegal in job interviews in about 20 states, including several with NFL teams, right? It is specifically illegal in Atlanta to ask anything about sexual orientation in interviews. That alone should make the NFL come down extremely hard on the Falcons and any organizations that ask anything along these lines. A combine interview is most definitely part of an interview process for hiring.

  15. seriously423 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:55 PM

    mmack66 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 4:39 PM

    Sure they will.

    mmack66, well said…

    the NFL is more probably or not a joke. They will only do something about this continued culture if (and only if) the winds if discontent direct them to.

  16. mrbiggstuff says: Mar 4, 2016 4:56 PM

    While you’re at it, maybe you can look into why the Falcons continue to impersonate an NFL franchise. That’s the bigger crime.

  17. realtruthteller100 says: Mar 4, 2016 4:58 PM

    the questions fine by me. they gotta be sure that their not drafting a distraction. sorry if thats not pc…

  18. stevedenetz says: Mar 4, 2016 5:05 PM

    this is disappointing but theses companies, the falcons are a company, are investing millions on these early round players. maybe it would be more appropriate to say this. ” because of the investment in early picks, we do a full vetting process on all of our candidates. Is there anything that you would like to discuss with us.” they will be having other contact with most of these players before they are drafted. any time I interview a candidate for a job, I make sure I don’t ask a question that I feel would be inappropriate for me to answer.

  19. coachbeck says: Mar 4, 2016 5:05 PM

    Who cares what they ask. Eli Apple needs to just shut up.

  20. stevedenetz says: Mar 4, 2016 5:11 PM

    realtruthteller100 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 4:58 PM

    the questions fine by me. they gotta be sure that their not drafting a distraction. sorry if thats not pc…
    ……………………………………………………………………

    I don’t disagree, but if you have a strong enough organization, this should not be a distraction unless you make it a distraction.

  21. dapollock69 says: Mar 4, 2016 5:11 PM

    Perhaps this will all go away when we find out that the Falcons hired George Takei as their receivers coach last week.

  22. nflrule says: Mar 4, 2016 5:12 PM

    What kind of world do we live in…?

  23. coutre says: Mar 4, 2016 5:18 PM

    And then what will they do? Take away Patriots draft picks? Troy Vincent has specifically hired his friends to prevent things like this and all they have done is make it worse.

  24. ebdug says: Mar 4, 2016 5:19 PM


    petedutcherjr says:
    Mar 4, 2016 4:39 PM

    I see nothing wrong with asking the question.

    Heck, maybe the guy wanted a date!

    If this is true everybody is discriminating against the coach.

  25. Cody Thomas says: Mar 4, 2016 5:21 PM

    This coach is a sure-fire moron.

    Why waste the precious 15 minutes of a combine interview on a question that 1) is stupid in the first place, 2) risks embarrassing your organization 3) risks punitive action from the league 4) you could learn via other avenues, such as asking teammates, classmates, family members, etc.

  26. ttommytom says: Mar 4, 2016 5:22 PM

    I bet Atlanta won’draft him if he is their BPA.

    It would be great if he was picked one slot behind Atlanta and became a HOF’r.

  27. mmack66 says: Mar 4, 2016 5:24 PM

    realtruthteller100 says:
    Mar 4, 2016 4:58 PM

    the questions fine by me. they gotta be sure that their not drafting a distraction. sorry if thats not pc…
    ——————–

    So, in order to try and avoid drafting a distraction, they create an even bigger distraction?

    Smart move!

  28. armchairqb says: Mar 4, 2016 5:24 PM

    Oh please. Making a big deal out of nothing.

  29. whyamiacowboysfanagain says: Mar 4, 2016 5:31 PM

    personnaly, I think they should be allowed to ask whatever they want…. the response of such a ridiculous question is what a person’s character is. If he stood up and beat the living snot out of him then I’d say that might not be the type of player ATL may want (or may want).

  30. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 4, 2016 5:34 PM

    What a tissue paper soft country we’ve become when something like this is turned into a national emergency.

    SMH

  31. jag1959 says: Mar 4, 2016 5:34 PM

    pastanow says:
    Mar 4, 2016 4:30 PM
    First round draft pick gone should teach them a lesson. The organization needs to fire whoever asked the question and Quinn needs to do more than apologize.
    _________________

    Firing squad at dawn perhaps? Oh wait, all life is sacred. It was an inappropriate neanderthal question but beyond firing someone what more exactly should Quinn do? Would a hair shirt do or should he suffer public stoning for the heresy of having a non SJW as part of his staff?

  32. evrybdyhas1 says: Mar 4, 2016 5:49 PM

    How come the head coach did not take responsibility instead of blaming it on an assistant? Either the Head Coach wanted the question asked (plausible deniability)or he has no control over his coaches or he has no idea how to organize and ask meaningful questions. Either way this team has serious problems from top to bottom and the NFL just can’t fix stupid.

  33. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Mar 4, 2016 5:52 PM

    pastanow says:
    Mar 4, 2016 4:30 PM
    First round draft pick gone should teach them a lesson.
    ——————–

    The Falcons were only stripped of a 5th rounder for gaining a competitive advantage by pumping in crowd noise but you expect them to get whacked with the loss of a 1st for an inappropriate question?Heck, violating the salary cap only costs teams a 3rd rounder. Losing a first rounder is reserved for capital offenses like the commissioner needing to save face and appear tough after the Rice and Petersen debacles

  34. breadmeatcheese says: Mar 4, 2016 6:00 PM

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

  35. guinsrule says: Mar 4, 2016 6:28 PM

    Why ask? These guys have years of social media paper trails that will provide details of what and who they and their friends like and dislike.

  36. Ferdinand says: Mar 4, 2016 6:47 PM

    I hope Apple’s response was “Are you asking me out?”

  37. newyorklion says: Mar 4, 2016 6:57 PM

    What’s the problem here? What is wrong with the question? I don’t see any issue at ALL with asking any question that gives you a response you were looking for. This is not a job interview it is more evaluation of a potential member of your staff. Its not the question that means anything to the organization…. it’s not even the answer that there interested in…….its the reaction ,body language, stress management, values, standing up for ones self , combativeness etc. Lets be real people. This is not just a potential employee of a reg company. When you drop $155 million dollars on players for 2016 you want to be damn sure who & what your staff’s wholeness is all about. No issue at all with asking any such question as it is a tool for finding out particulars to someone else’s physiological make up. Political correctness has no place in physiological evaluations. The righteous need to get off there high horses & find a real cause …….if you think for one second they actually cared if he was gay you are probably as dumb as you look.

  38. igornathanhiggers says: Mar 4, 2016 7:05 PM

    Well Mike, when you start paying your employees millions of dollars then you can ask the questions…

  39. All-American Voltron says: Mar 4, 2016 7:12 PM

    In Atlanta’s defense the coach might’ve been legitimately propositioning Apple, and trying to gauge his chances down the line.

  40. joetoronto says: Mar 4, 2016 7:40 PM

    If you want to be treated like everybody else than what’s the big deal?

    If they asked a straight dude if he like women, would that make you bozo’s upset too?

    Pansies.

  41. shlort says: Mar 4, 2016 8:00 PM

    Ridiculous liberal uproar. Nothing new.

  42. rolltide510 says: Mar 4, 2016 8:43 PM

    Its amazing how many people see this as a political/cultural issue vs. a basic matter of professionalism at a job.

    Hint: It’s not a political/cultural matter.

  43. nomoreseasontix says: Mar 4, 2016 9:22 PM

    They were just trying to make sure there wasn’t a Michael Sam sideshow waiting in the weeds to surprise them.
    Good job he did for the gay community.
    They’re all gun shy.
    It’s not a commentary on gay rights. It’s a commentary on trying to do business without nonsense butting in.

  44. elvos123 says: Mar 4, 2016 10:09 PM

    I’m offended by everyone being offended by everything ..dumb question yes , but I’m sure someone was offended by every question asked . Let’s get a thicker skin America .. When I was a kid and someone said something that offended me I said the sticks and stones song and walked away without being scarred for life . Yes they shouldn’t have asked legally ,but he said he thought he was joking around . Soon swearing or telling a joke will be findable with mandatory jail time ….I’m kidding don’t be offended:-)

  45. skinsdiehard says: Mar 4, 2016 10:22 PM

    ebbycalvinlaloosh says:

    Mar 4, 2016 4:33 PM
    It’s illegal to ask about sexual orientation; it’s NOT illegal to ask if someone’s mom is a prostitute. Important difference.
    ——————————————————————-
    Seriously? It’s disrespectful to ask a person if their mom is a prostitute, even if she is. How would that impact is preparation or focus on football anyway? It’s distasteful and disrespectful. Doesn’t have to be illegal to be wrong.

  46. stoopidfool says: Mar 4, 2016 10:49 PM

    A million bucks, a 1st and 4th rounder

    Because it’s all about integrity

  47. bigdog2372 says: Mar 4, 2016 10:51 PM

    Why are we afraid to answer simple questions these days? If he’s gay he’s gay, if he’s not he’s not. Who cares? I thought these things were supposed to be normal in 2016, or at least that’s what we’re told. As such, this should be no different than asking a potential pick if he prefers cars or bikes. Steak or lobster. Sunrise or sunset. Besides, anyone who knows anything about the process knows that most of the time it’s not the answer to the question that teams care about it is the manner in which it is answered. Pathetic that everyone gets their panties in a bunch over something so silly and benign.

  48. ausernamethatisavailable says: Mar 4, 2016 11:38 PM

    I understand it’s taboo but it’s a relevant question. Who wants that circus in their locker room. Was anybody paying attention to the Michael Sam fiasco?

  49. toofast79 says: Mar 5, 2016 12:24 AM

    Fair question considering he went to Ohio State…..

  50. lionbloodwinning says: Mar 5, 2016 3:24 AM

    Anyone outraged by this doesn’t understand the process at all. Anyone that doesn’t like this comment…also doesn’t get it.

  51. bullcharger says: Mar 5, 2016 7:42 AM

    Wake up. There are openly gay players in the NFL today. They just aren’t open the the media and the whole world. I’m sure their friends, family and teammates know. It would be statistically impossible for that to be untrue.

  52. kissmysandwich says: Mar 5, 2016 9:55 AM

    Falcons = Dumpster Fire. Quinn is not a head coach. Matt Ryan is over-rated. The only guy keeping that team relevant at all is Julio.

  53. motleytrap says: Mar 5, 2016 10:01 AM

    “if you think for one second they actually cared if he was gay”

    You think there’s no discrimination in the old boys club?

  54. fanofpft says: Mar 5, 2016 7:58 PM

    skinsdiehard says:
    Mar 4, 2016 10:22 PM

    ebbycalvinlaloosh says:

    Mar 4, 2016 4:33 PM
    It’s illegal to ask about sexual orientation; it’s NOT illegal to ask if someone’s mom is a prostitute. Important difference.
    ——————————————————————-
    Seriously? It’s disrespectful to ask a person if their mom is a prostitute, even if she is. How would that impact is preparation or focus on football anyway? It’s distasteful and disrespectful. Doesn’t have to be illegal to be wrong.

    .
    He never asked him that. It is a faux pas that the media keeps snowballing and has never addressed it properly.

    He asked him what his father does. Answer a pimp. Then he probably asked him what do you mean? Bryant then said his moms a hooker. This is what Ireland repeated back to Bryant. Just asking him what he just heard him say.

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