League provides annual reminders for teams about improper questions

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So what does the NFL do to ensure that teams won’t ask inappropriate questions to incoming rookies at the Scouting Combine or elsewhere?

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL provides clear and specific language on the topic that should be avoided. The admonition comes in the form of an annual memo, with a direction to share it with all persons who will be involved in the process.

Questions to be avoided included, per the source: (1) do you like women or men?; (2) are you gay or straight?; (3) do you have any children/dependents and, if yes, who has primary caretaking responsibilities?; and (4) did you marry your child’s mother and, if not, why not?

It’s good that the memo is sent, but it’s clear that the memo isn’t working as well as it could be. More needs to be done, including but not limited to the imposition of meaningful discipline for those who violate the rules.

As suggested earlier, teams should be required to record and preserve all interactions with incoming rookies. It’s an easy way to ensure that lines won’t be crossed — and to quickly confirm that lines were crossed.

If they continue to be. And without more meaningful efforts from the league, they will.

14 responses to “League provides annual reminders for teams about improper questions

  1. In my state, it requires written consent by both parties, excepting law enforcement, to record a conversation. Not certain about other states.
    That said, because my employees are required to be “on the road” for extended periods of time, I do ask about child custody/child care options that they have. It is critical to their job performance since they may be gone from “home” for as long as a month. I also ask them if taking the job will effect their personal relationships. Will it ruin their marriage? I could care less about their preferences sexually and never ask.
    Also, at the beginning of the interview, I tell them that any question they deem too personal or out of line, they have the right to inform me of such, not answer the question simply because of their feelings at no impact to the opportunity for the job. I appreciate their honesty in dealing with them.

  2. Another factor here: Where are the agents in all this? If they’re not involved in the interviews directly, they should at least be telling their clients what questions are out-of-bounds, and making it clear to teams that inappropriate questions will be reported to the league office. Agents are supposed to be advocates for their clients, but it sounds an awful lot like these players are going into their interviews with no support at all.

  3. There is no good reason to be asking these kinds of questions. This is a job interview and questions about sexuality as well as that rumored question of whether someone’s mom being a prostitute has nothing to do with the job, and puts kids in a situation where they don’t know what to do. It would be perfectly respectable for a draft prospect to say “that’s an inappropriate question and I can see I wouldn’t want to play for an organization that thinks that kind of question is appropriate” and walk out…..up until he falls in the draft and it costs him money.

  4. I don’t think taping things would be necessary but there should be somebody from the league in the room who can move things along if anything inappropriate is asked. They could then circle back around to either educate teams and/or reprimand them. It’s not a contract negotiation so having an agent present wouldn’t be necessary and that would get in the way of seeing how a guy interviews and responds to even legitimate questions.

  5. Because all teams think they have the secret formula to success and are hyper-paranoid about some other team stealing that formula, they would throw a fit if they were required to record interviews. Have an independent observer or allow agents to accompany their client and observe only.

  6. everything makes sense except the why asking if someone has children is bad? i’m not aware if having kids was ever detrimental to a team? could someone explain i’m not following…

  7. Another factor here: Where are the agents in all this? If they’re not involved in the interviews directly, they should at least be telling their clients what questions are out-of-bounds, and making it clear to teams that inappropriate questions will be reported to the league office. Agents are supposed to be advocates for their clients, but it sounds an awful lot like these players are going into their interviews with no support at all.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Agents prepare them for questions including telling them about these types of questions and how to react. Here’s the issue lots of things that shouldn’t happen happen in the locker rooms back offices etc. If a player goes to his agent who releases info if it’s a big name player like this he’s fine. But a 5/6/7 round prospect is risking his entire future.

  8. If you really want answers to those idiotic questions, that’s what your investigators are for. If the league really wants to clean it up, record it and if it’s violated start taking away draft picks. No letters, no fines — draft picks. Trust me, it will only have to happen once.

  9. All the memos and protestations mean nothing if there’s a tacit “nod-nod-wink-wink” understanding between the owners and the league that the guidelines are in place only to satisfy the media and the public.

  10. All-American Voltron says:
    March 8, 2018 at 1:46 pm
    everything makes sense except the why asking if someone has children is bad? i’m not aware if having kids was ever detrimental to a team? could someone explain i’m not following…
    _______________

    Generally employers are not allowed to ask questions about marital status or child status, among other things – only questions pertaining to the actual job and the candidate’s qualifications. If I’m interviewing someone that turns out to be a single parent with several kids I might decide not to give them the job even though they are otherwise qualified because I’m worried that they are gonna have daycare issues or always be late because they are dropping their kids off at school. Those things are irrelevant and don’t have any bearing on someone’s qualifications, and in some instances may be illegal.

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