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Be Careful What You Ask at the NFL Scouting Combine

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Eli Apple. Photo: Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Will the NFL crackdown on what kind of questions that team personnel can ask participants at the Scouting Combine. Last March, Eli Apple went on the Breakfast on Broad TV show in Philadelphia to discuss how he thought he did at the combine.

Apple told the show’s hosts, “I’ve been asked a lot of weird questions. I don’t know if I could say on TV. The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, ‘So do you like men?’ It was like 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.”

The coach asked a question that probably would have gotten him fired at Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s former business Home Depot.

In the NFL, coaches look for guys who can intimidate and shy away from those who can be intimidated so that question seemed perfectly reasonable. But someone figured out this could be a workplace discrimination problem and the Falcons organization apologized fast.

If you know anything about NFL history, the league was forced to desegregate in 1946 because the owners of the Cleveland Rams could not move into the publicly funded Los Angeles Coliseum without offering equal employment opportunities to all. The same thing happened in 1962 when Washington owner George Preston Marshall moved from the old Washington baseball park to the new federally funded stadium and had to provide equal opportunity employment.

A workplace lawsuit for discrimination is the last thing the NFL owners need. One side note, the NFL does not have to worry about the Breakfast on Broad TV show, it has been cancelled.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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