New York A.G. pushes NFL to clarify position on sexual orientation


When reports surfaced of inappropriate questions being asked of incoming rookies at the Scouting Combine, the NFL responded.  New York’s attorney general wants more.

According to CNN, Eric Schneiderman sent a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell seeking a clear commitment that players won’t be subjected to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Equal protection under the law is an essential issue for employers, employees and prospective job applicants,” Schneiderman wrote.  “For that reason, I ask that the league clarify its position by issuing a public statement that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by league teams or their employees or agents against potential recruits or players constitutes a violation of state, local and, in some cases, contractual law, and will not be tolerated.”

Schneiderman is on the right track, but anyone can issue a strongly-worded statement containing comments that are fairly obvious.  Real change will come only if, for example, the NFL discloses the results of the investigation into questions posed to Colorado tight end Nick Kasa (including “do you like girls?”), including any discipline imposed.

Beyond that, acceptance of gay players will occur only after the persons in positions of power with the teams, not the league, establish the appropriate tone.  The owners, coaches, and General Managers need to say, unequivocally, that gay players are welcome on their teams, and that any discrimination or hostility in the workplace will not be tolerated.

Likewise, the NFL and the NFLPA should agree promptly to an expansion of the labor deal that permits significant punishment to be imposed on players who subject teammates known or suspected to be gay to physical or verbal intimidation or harassment.

If the NFL and its teams choose to make the creation of an appropriate atmosphere of acceptance a priority, the appropriate atmosphere will be created.  Until that happens, the fact that no gay player has come out of the closet should surprise no one.

31 responses to “New York A.G. pushes NFL to clarify position on sexual orientation

  1. The owners, coaches and GM’s can make the same empty statements as the New York AG but it really comes down to the players, Florio. If the owners, coaches and Gm’s know that the players don’t want gays in their locker rooms…..they’re not going to push for it to happen. I don’t know how you can miss the obvious.

  2. This is all just words. People won’t change their opinions until a Pro Bowl, stand-out player comes out as openly gay. To dispute the myth that gays are soft. Until then this is all for nothing. You’re not going to change the minds of players.

    Yes, people took chances on blacks back in the day. But, they could play. They’re play stood out above the color of their skin. Find me a gay person whose play speaks louder than their sexual orientation and then we will have progress.

    But, hey with the league going as soft as it is. It may not matter…but I digress.

  3. NFL to Eric – “Trying to establish position re: orientation. Compass needle is spinning wildly. Possible interference from excessively tight pants with metallic sheen. Will update once we pass through electronic storm.”.

  4. Future generations will look at our society the way we look back at segregation. Blacks and whites playing on the same field was once taboo. What side of history do you want to be on?

  5. The NFL lets anybody who’s good enough get a chance to play for them. This is New York grandstanding.

  6. There isn’t going to ever be an appropriate atmosphere, unfortunately. The best the NFL can do is attempt to reduce the hostility. Ultimately, it’s going to take a gay player saying, to hell with it, and then making the jump.
    History has taught us that there are too many ignorant people to wait for an appropriate atmosphere. If we did, we’d still be waiting for Jackie Robinson to step onto a baseball field.

  7. I am glad the league no longer tolerates any form of discrimination. I remember Ronald Reagan was once asked why there many persons that were gay in his administration and he said he does not care as long as they can do the job and they do not act inapprorpriately and this went for both gay and straight employees. Everyone should be treated equally and treated on their merits, not their personal life.

  8. Asking a question is no discrimination — I think any NFL team should want to be prepared for the media blitz that would accompany any player who comes out. If a team is asking and going to use that information to not select a player that is a different story, but then again it is 2013, being gay isn’t a big deal.

    Also since he speaks of tolerance what happens when a player isn’t comfortable showering with a gay man — will his view point be tolerated? Or is being tolerant only a PC street?

    Finally being tolerant of something does not mean the same as accepting something. I think the PC police should really update their language since they’re not teaching tolerance, they’re teaching forced acceptance.

    And for all the men or boys or women or girls or transvestites or gays or anyone else I forgot to mention that I offend by daring to have a different opinion, to be clear I honestly could care less if you have gay players or not, I’m certain there are gay players. What I can’t stand is being preached at.

  9. Please!

    Somebody tell this Schneiderman to get his own house in order!

    Clean up the corruption in your government and then worry about the NFL!

    What a (_____)!

  10. I’m wondering if Nick Kasa’s draft position will be hurt by him being the guy to reveal this info about what type of questions they were asking.

  11. The position of the New York AG is somewhat irrelevant. NY only has a part-time NFL team (Bills). The other “New York” teams are out of his jurisdiction.

    I’m sure he’ll pick up a few votes in the Village though.

  12. This will lead to all interviews (both combine and free agency related) being recorded. Here comes big brother.

    The NFL hasn’t gotten too big, and has made so much money to the point that it is being overly legislated, from both external and internal forces.

  13. Verrrrry interesting that the AG for New York is the one pushing this issue. Blow it off if you will, but the draft happens in New York City. If you consider that drafting a player amounts to hiring him, an interesting case COULD be made that any team that moves a player down their draft board because he was perceived to be gay is breaking a number of equal opportunity laws. Whether the team and/or player are from New York is irrelevant if the hiring discrimination took place IN New York. And since the rookie salary structure can make it very easy to describe just how much a player loses by dropping down the draft board…

    Yes, it’s a difficult case to win for a prosecutor, but it’s the kind of case that can make changes whether the prosecutor wins or loses…

  14. Who cares what the A.G. of New York has to say about something that happens in Indiana. He should worry more about Bloomburg and his antics.

  15. Oooh! Oooh! I see a headline.

    All of the regulations in the world will not change locker room culture. I agree that there should be a verbal acknowledgement that discrimination against gays is reprehensible. However, every gay player in the NFL (and there are gay players in the NFL) knows that the best course of action is to keep their personal business to themselves.

    This is no different than many other large corporate entities in the good ole US of A.

  16. I do not understand why there is such a problem within NFL locker rooms. After all, every single one of those young men are progressive, open-minded, enlightened, highly educated “student athletes,” aren’t they? . Otherwise the public might wonder whether some of them are the kind of stunted, ignorant, uninformed, knuckle-dragging louts who are able to support mates who drive while under the influence, risking and in some instances, KILLING innocent victims, as well as standing behind best buds who assault physically and in some cases sexually, their wives, girlfriends, dates and acquaintances. This kind of time consuming do-or-die support of one’s locker mate ALMOST impedes the upholding of the sanctity of man / woman unions by running around the country fathering six, eight, maybe even ten children from six baby mommas during the short NFL career of a ” NORMAL ” red-blooded MAN! Yup, supporting and backing a teammate who is openly gay would truly impact the “regular” patterns of behavior within the NFL …with any luck.

    The NFL is no differnt than any other proffessional business in the USA, YOU HAVE TO ABIDE BY THE LAW , and they should be prosecuted by the laws acording to there states and Federal laws accordingly

  18. Pretty decent summation of the issue. Until the NFL and NFLPA come out and tell teams that they need to act like enlightened human beings and treat all players equally regardless of what they do in the bedroom the league will continue to be a hostile workplace to anyone who is not straight.

    What people do in their bedroom has no impact on their ability to perform on the gridiron or in any other field.

  19. It seems to me a little strange to be standing under a hot shower after a tough football game and have two or three guys ogling me with lust in their hearts,,,,Well at least I haven’t lost my sex appeal.
    Sorry, this thingie is getting kinda silly about who asked what to whom. Is yo momma a ho? My momma keeps asking my Daddy for money,,,does that mean anything, exactly ?

  20. Guess violent crime has been eradicated in NY State. Glad to see the AG is “tackling” important issues.

  21. Since you can’t legally ask this question “do you like girls?” in a normal everyday job interview then yes this is not legally acceptable to ask in the NFL. Whether you like gays in your locker room or not you must still abide by the laws of the land. Whether you perceive someone to be gay or not, select the player based on his abilities regardless of whether you perceive his sexual orientation as something you may not agree on. It makes no difference what that man does in their bedroom just like what you do in your bedroom does not affect me. Let everyone have a private life and be happy and left alone and let them be selected based on their abilities to perform for your team and that alone. PERIOD!!

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