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"But they would ask you with a straight face."
February 27, 2013 3:46 PM   Subscribe

It's the NFL Combine! Where NFL teams size up the year's top prospects; where sportscaster Rich Eisen runs the 40; and where at least one team wants to know, "Do you like girls?"

The league says its looking into it. In case you were wondering, yes, it's illegal. But the NFL has both a collective bargaining agreement and an antitrust exemption, so don't hold your breath.
posted by Cool Papa Bell (38 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Do you like girls?"

/facepalm

At least it wasn't, "Is your mother a whore?"
posted by Drinky Die at 3:49 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Warning: the "runs the 40" video is preceded by an ad featuring That Asshole In The Blue Blazer.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:55 PM on February 27, 2013


"Which girls? Yours? Got a picture?"
posted by Fnarf at 3:55 PM on February 27, 2013


At least it wasn't, "Is your mother a whore?"

I think it was "When did your mother stop having sex for money?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:57 PM on February 27, 2013


"I take it by 'like' you mean 'feel a sexual attraction towards'; I think you're going to have to define the upper-age-range for your usage of the word 'girls' before I know how to respond to your question."
posted by yoink at 3:59 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


> At least it wasn't, "Is your mother a whore?"

"I'll tell you about my mother!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:02 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow, how fucking gross.
I guess it would be sort of immature to respond like so:
Q: Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls?
A: Sorry man, I don't date football players.
posted by chococat at 4:07 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Few players, no matter how witty or virtuous, are going to say anything the interviewer would find objectionable because that would get you a note in your NFL Permanent File branding you as NOT A TEAM PLAYER. NFL organizations aren't big on anti-authoritarian types.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:13 PM on February 27, 2013


Is 6.03 fast for your average sportscaster? Should he be looking for recruiting offers from Battle of the Network Stars?
posted by madajb at 4:13 PM on February 27, 2013


"Do you like girls?"

Do you mean real girls?
posted by Metro Gnome at 4:15 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do you mean real girls?

Totally thought that link was going to be about Manti T'eo.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:19 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Do you like girls?"

Sadly I think a non-trivial number of existing NFL players would say "No, but I fuck them anyway."
posted by GuyZero at 4:24 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


madajb: "Is 6.03 fast for your average sportscaster? Should he be looking for recruiting offers from Battle of the Network Stars?"

He is wearing a suit, and he's managed to trim half a second off of his early times. That said, he's still getting smoked by guys who are 150 pounds heavier, which is partly a testament to how athletic they are and partly evidence that he's not really very fast at all. I think I once tested it and ran about a 5 second 40 which isn't going to get me into the NFL at a non-kicking position, but is still a lot closer to NFL speed than Rich Eisen speed.
posted by Copronymus at 4:30 PM on February 27, 2013


It looked like Deon "Leon Sandcastle" kept up w/him running backwards, at least for the first half. I wonder what "Leon's" backwards 40 time is.
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:33 PM on February 27, 2013


I (not a real big football fan) happened upon this over the weekend. I got hooked on it and just couldn't stop watching it even though I really had no idea how to judge what I was looking at it. It was fascinating. Then, after a couple of hours I realized that the Combine is the human sports equivalent of a dog show. You've got these highly trained, physically superior specimens all grouped together (personally was very sad I couldn't watch on Monday when the super big boys would be out) and put through some standard exercises and judged against each other while commentators talked about things like how long their arms were or whether they "just looked like a fullback". By the end of Sunday I basically had Combine Coma.
posted by marylynn at 4:35 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Totally thought that link was going to be about Manti T'eo.

Pundit: Pro Teams Want to Know if Manti Te'o is Gay But Nobody at the NFL Combine Has the Nerve to Ask.
posted by ericb at 4:36 PM on February 27, 2013


In related news: Ex-Bears QB Miller: Religion a barrier for gays in locker room.
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


As part of Combine Coma I also got to see the Manti Te'o press conference. A softer bunch of softballs where never thrown. You could tell everyone wanted to ask Real Questions, but no one dared. It would be a gross question anyway, but the poking and prodding these kids go through it wouldn't surprise me.
posted by marylynn at 4:39 PM on February 27, 2013


Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not illegal under federal law and is spotty at a state level. So, depending on which team asked this question, it could have been legal. Colorado, it's illegal. Sadly, the web page you linked to describes someone's opinion of what sexual discrimination is, not what the (federal) law defines it as currently.

Some players have shown support in an awesome way, hopefully the heads will too or at least have the player push back more.
posted by easyasy3k at 4:42 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The combine is so weird. It's very much a sausage-making event, but the press MUST COVER SOMETHING 24/7!!!!!! so we get endless press conferences during which the organization guys spew a mixture of nothing and lies. Apparently we are supposed to watch this.

I think that while it's really ridiculous this guy got asked the question, it's nice that these days it actually raises eyebrows. And that you have guys like Chris Kluwe saying the obvious, intelligent things we hope more athletes than not believe.
posted by selfnoise at 4:45 PM on February 27, 2013


Probably a good place to plug the You Can Play Project which is doing great things for the acceptance of gays in sports.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 4:56 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't follow any of this pre-draft stuff anymore. For years I followed all the news and figured out what players I would like to see the Eagles draft, and for years Andy Reid would pick someone totally out of left field nobody thought he would take. Now I just wait until they are drafted to obsess.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:00 PM on February 27, 2013


Ex-Bears QB Miller: Religion a barrier for gays in locker room.

It's right there in the Bible: "Thou shalt not don shoulder pads in the same room as men who lie with other men."

But of course he ignores all the verses that say, "Thou shalt not shower with drunkards nor slanderers nor brawlers. Nor shalt thou pour champagne over the heads of idolaters and men of impure speech. Nor snap the towel at the butts of the greedy nor the jealous nor those prone to fits of anger."
posted by straight at 5:15 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. It is patently illegal for a prospective employer to ask questions like this. How does professional sports get away with violating the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against gays? And why hasn't someone sued their ass off?
posted by charlesminus at 5:21 PM on February 27, 2013


Matt Taibbi in 2010 on the NFL Draft...
It’s hard to say exactly what makes the NFL draft so compelling. For starters, with its creepy slave-auction vibe and armies of drooling, flesh-peddling scouts, it has an excessive, perverted side that the drafts of other sports lack....This is about as dark and freaky as our sanitized modern American mainstream culture ever openly admits to being. These are bloodless corporate enterprises using advanced scientific and economic metrics to measure the material worth of human flesh down to the half-pound, the 16th of an inch. Which would be horrifying and morally repulsive under normal circumstances, but when added to a strong rooting interest in your home team, can become for certain people one of those guilty pleasures you just can’t give up because you enjoy it so much, like jerking off while hanging yourself in the shower.
So, not really surprised by the question.
posted by vonstadler at 5:26 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, I actually prefer grown women.
posted by tyllwin at 5:30 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the question, "Is your mom a whore?" Does that actually cross the boundaries of a protected class for purposes of determining that illegal discrimination occured? I can see where one could end up in sexual harassment pretty quickly, but is seems that hypothetically no discrimination because parental profession is not a protected class in most places. I ask this in the most speculative, hypothetical WTF edge case of employment law way, not in the hey one of us should throw this out in the next interview.
posted by humanfont at 6:14 PM on February 27, 2013


Rich Eisen is 43. I'm betting he is faster than most NFL players will be when they are 43. Sprinting ain't easy on old legs.
posted by srboisvert at 6:47 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The real beauty of the combines and the NFL draft is how horrifically wrong they are. Doug Flutie, Warren Moon, Kurt Warner, London Fletcher, Jake Delhomme, Adam Vinatieri, Wayne Chrebet, Jeff Garcia...and on and on.

No league is worse at picking players than the NFL.
posted by srboisvert at 6:51 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The real beauty of the combines and the NFL draft is how horrifically wrong they are

Except that while you can always pull out exceptions, on average first round picks have longer and better careers than even second round picks. Because, it turns out, you get picked in the first round for being really, really good at football.

For every Kurt Warner or Tom Brady there are dozens of guys who were projected to be star players, were picked in the first round, and...became star players. Plus, while analysts like to say "32 teams passed on this guy three times", they never mention that probably 25 of those teams had very good reasons to pass on him--already being stocked with talent at that position, desperately needing help somewhere else, etc.


Unless by "they" you mean the Bengals specifically, because then it's just true. They really suck at it.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 7:08 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. It is patently illegal for a prospective employer to ask questions like this. How does professional sports get away with violating the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against gays?

It's astounding how many organizations, professional sports or otherwise get away with violating the rights of others unfortunately.
posted by juiceCake at 6:36 AM on February 28, 2013


Job discrimination on sexual orientation is indeed legal in a lot of states.

But as I understand it, asking "Are you married?" in a job interview is a big no-no anywhere in the US. Just asking the question isn't strictly speaking illegal — but discriminating based on marital status is illegal, and the best defense against that charge is just not to know anyone's marital status.

So, weirdly, they could potentially get in bigger trouble for "Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married?..." than for "...Do you like girls?"
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 7:33 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


>>Ex-Bears QB Miller: Religion a barrier for gays in locker room.

It's right there in the Bible: "Thou shalt not don shoulder pads in the same room as men who lie with other men."

But of course he ignores all the verses that say, "Thou shalt not shower with drunkards nor slanderers nor brawlers. Nor shalt thou pour champagne over the heads of idolaters and men of impure speech. Nor snap the towel at the butts of the greedy nor the jealous nor those prone to fits of anger."


See, here is where reading the article would have helped, in which case you would have seen the following:
Asked his stance on whether gays should be accepted, Miller said, "I could care less. You can play football or you can’t. I’m just giving you my point of view that certain factions of a locker room will not accept it. ... That's the reality of the situation."
posted by slkinsey at 7:46 AM on February 28, 2013


I also wonder whether the whole "do you like girls" question allegedly asked by a team may be getting blown out of proportion. Here is what Nick Kasa actually said:
"I think the whole point of the week is to play with your mind to see if you stay focused and stay driven. There was a couple of questions by coaches … they try to catch you off guard or try to say something you wouldn’t normally say … to see if they can get a reaction. They’re trying to see how badly they can get in your mind," said Kasa.

Kasa was asked if he was asked any weirdly personal questions.

"They ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married?’ Do you like girls?'" Kasa told the hosts. "Those kinds of things. It was kind of weird. But they would ask you with a straight face, and it’s a pretty weird experience altogether."
Unless he has come out and said that this exact question was literally asked of him (has he?) this seems an awful lot like an off the cuff remark in an interview. The quote above seems a far cry from NICK KASA SAID THAT A TEAM ASKED HIM IF HE LIKES GIRLS.
posted by slkinsey at 7:53 AM on February 28, 2013


slkinsey, I was responding this quote from Miller: “There are some religions that are just not going to accept a gay individual in the locker room,” by making fun of the idea that some people think their religion prohibits them from changing clothes in the same room with a gay person.

He says, "Teams want to know if Manti Te'o is gay...They just want to know. They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it's a different world," as if the religious players are fine accepting gay people in other walks of life, but that they somehow have a religious objection (and not just a gay panic objection) to sharing a locker room with players who are gay.
posted by straight at 9:06 AM on February 28, 2013


Except that while you can always pull out exceptions, on average first round picks have longer and better careers than even second round picks. Because, it turns out, you get picked in the first round for being really, really good at football.

For every Kurt Warner or Tom Brady there are dozens of guys who were projected to be star players, were picked in the first round, and...became star players. Plus, while analysts like to say "32 teams passed on this guy three times", they never mention that probably 25 of those teams had very good reasons to pass on him--already being stocked with talent at that position, desperately needing help somewhere else, etc.


The problem with this is it that it is the same kind of circular reasoning that justifies graduate programs using the GRE for admission criteria despite the fact that it has never actually been empirically validated. First round picks receive more money, more chances, more resources and more effort from the NFL machine. Those players who manage to succeed despite not being first round picks, or even picks at all, are not merely competitive at the same game. They are successful at playing a far harder game than the one that first round picks play and yet they exist.

As far as I am concerned every 'exception' raises the question of why the NFL draft isn't 100% accurate given that the late or non-picks are essentially running marathons where the other guys have an hour head start and get all the gatorade at the aid stations.
posted by srboisvert at 10:05 AM on February 28, 2013


Brendon Ayanbadejo: NFL Prospects 'Need to Say That They're Straight' to Get Good Chance at Draft (w/ video).
posted by ericb at 10:17 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


BBC Sport: Lauren Silberman will make sporting history this weekend when she becomes the first woman to attempt to play American football professionally.
Alongside hundreds of male hopefuls, the 28-year-old New Yorker will take part in one of 10 regional trials - known as "combines" - in an effort to catch the eye of dozens of scouts working for the National Football League's 32 clubs.

posted by Drinky Die at 5:46 AM on March 2, 2013


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