The inner machinery of professional football has never exactly been an area of expertise at Queerty HQ, but we feel even more baffled by the sport after hearing how one prospective player was grilled on whether he likes men by team officials.
Former LSU running back Derrius Guice reports that while he was interviewing at the NFL Combine, an annual event where prospective players try out for the pro league, he was asked some bizarre questions, including whether he “likes men.”
‘’It was pretty crazy,” Guice said on the SiriusXM NFL show Late Hits. “Some people are really trying to get in your head and test your reaction. … I go in one room, and a team will ask me do I like men, just to see my reaction. I go in another room, they’ll try to bring up one of my family members or something and tell me, ‘Hey, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?’”
But while these lines of questioning sound surprising to the uninitiated, this is apparently business as usual for the NFL.
“It went exactly how everyone told me it would be,” Guice said. “It’s exhausting. … It was a great experience. You’re being watched and tested the whole time.”
The NFL is looking into the claim, though a similar incident two years ago was never properly addressed.
The last time an NFL coach asked a potential draftee if he “liked men,” the league did nothing. Encouraged by advisors to focus on “education,” the league took no action against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons, in turn, did not suspend the coach who asked the offensive and illegal questions, Marquand Manuel. Heck, they even promoted him to defensive coordinator a year later.
At the time, the head coach of the Falcons, Dan Quinn, released this statement:
“I am really disappointed in the question that was asked by one of our coaches. I have spoken to the coach that interviewed Eli Apple and explained to him how inappropriate and unprofessional this was. I have reiterated this to the entire coaching staff and I want to apologize to Eli for this even coming up. This is not what the Atlanta Falcons are about and it is not how we are going to conduct ourselves.
The HRC responded to Guice’s story:
“The fact that Derrius Guice was asked by an NFL team — and a prospective employer — about his sexual orientation is absurd and inappropriate,” said HRC Director of Public Education and Research, Ashland Johnson. “With similar incidents already reported, it’s clear that the NFL did not do enough to prevent it from happening again. Guice’s experience illustrates the risks faced by millions of LGBTQ people today in employment, athletics, housing and other areas of their lives. It’s why we need swift action to condemn these kinds of practices and to fight for passage of the Equality Act to ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The NFL should take serious actions that address these unacceptable incidents and the perpetuation of an unwelcoming anti-LGBTQ environment, including publicly supporting the Equality Act.”