If National Football League teams are asking prospective players about their sexuality, that would be a violation of the law and the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the NFL Players’ Association said Wednesday. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported this week that teams wanted to know if Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is gay, after the projected first-round pick was embroiled involving a fake girlfriend this winter. A second player, University of Colorado tight end Nick Kasa, said today that NFL teams had asked questions about his sexuality.
Kasa, who is projected to be selected in April’s draft, told an ESPN Radio affiliate in Denver that teams have asked him whether he has a girlfriend and if he likes girls, Queerty noted:
“[Teams] ask you, like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married? Do you like girls?’ Those kinds of things, and you know it was just kind of weird. But they would ask you with a straight face, and it’s a pretty weird experience altogether.”
Such questions from NFL teams would be a violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which includes a non-discrimination clause that covers sexual orientation. In a statement emailed to ThinkProgress, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said the league should “seek out information” about which teams have asked questions about sexuality:
“I know that the NFL agrees that these types of questions violate the law, our CBA and player rights. I hope that they will seek out information as to what teams have engaged in this type of discrimination, and we should then discuss appropriate discipline.”
The non-discrimination provision was added to the collective bargaining agreement during labor negotiations in 2011. It covers all current and prospective NFL employees.
The NFL will investigate the line of questioning, it said in a statement to CBS Sports. “Like all employers, our teams are expected to follow applicable federal, state and local employment laws,” the NFL said in a statement. “It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process. In addition, there are specific protections in our collective bargaining agreement with the players that prohibit discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation. We will look into the report on the questioning of Nick Kasa at the Scouting Combine. Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”