Sports fans in Minnesota likely know that the annual NFL offseason event known as the “Combine” recently occurred in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is an event where the top college draft prospects from around the country get a chance to gather together in one location to go through football position drills and other physical athletic tests, as well as medical tests and the all-important interviews with representatives for NFL teams. In short, the Combine is like a massive job interview for draft prospects that occurs over the course of several days.
One of the biggest reasons for the Combine is for potential NFL players to get a chance to show off their skills for potential employers, but also for NFL teams to get a chance to get to know the prospects a bit better through short, 15-minute interview sessions, which many people say are akin to “speed dating.” During the interview sessions, the NFL teams may ask the prospects about any number of topics, from football questions to questions about their college careers. But, just like all other interviews that potential employers have with potential employees in any field, the questions in these interview sessions at the NFL Combine cannot violate employment laws.
That is why it can as quick a shock to the football world when one of the top prospects who participated in interviews at the Combine this year reported that he was asked about his sexual orientation during one such interview. The report has resulted in an official statement from the National Football League Players Association, which includes a demand for the offending team to be banned from the event.
Because the NFL is such a big business, with millions of fans throughout the country, particularly in Minnesota, it can be easy to forget that NFL teams hire employees just like any other business – players included. In the interview process, these NFL teams need to follow the rules.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “NFL team that asked about prospect’s sexuality should be banned from the combine, says NFLPA chief,” Des Bieler and Matt Bonesteel, March 8, 2018