The NFL Combine is a weekend chock full of non-stories, often centering around Wonderlic Test scores, which exist only to fill hours of airtime for talking heads. There is plenty of controversy surrounding the accuracy of the Wonderlic Test as a predictor for NFL success, and rightfully so. (Ray Lewis scored a 13. How’d that all work out?) Until this year, the 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic Test was the only standardized exam administered to prospective NFL players, while player-specific questions were left to individual teams. Over the years, the free reign of individual questioning has led to some bizarre and inappropriate interactions — some of which were far more newsworthy.
The most famous incident was Dez Bryant’s interview with the Miami Dolphins in 2010, during which Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland asked if Bryant’s mother was a prostitute. When word of Ireland’s question leaked, the ensuing shit storm forced him to apologize to Bryant. In addition, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith lashed out at NFL teams and their potentially illegal interview topics:
“We need to make sure the men of this league are treated as businessmen,” Smith said in a statement. “During interviews, our players and prospective players should never be subjected to discrimination or degradation stemming from the biases or misconceptions held by team personnel.
“NFL teams cannot have the free reign to ask questions during the interview process which can be categorized as stereotyping or which may bring a personal insult to any player as a man. For the past year, active, former and incoming players have heard me speak about the expectations we have of them as members of this union, their teams, communities and families. It is equally true that the same kind of respect is demanded of their employers.”
Message received, right? Apparently not, as Colorado Buffaloes tight end Nick Kasa appeared on ESPN Radio Denver to discuss a personal line of questioning he was subjected to:
“They ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married?’ Do you like girls?’” Kasa told ESPN Radio Denver on Tuesday. “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 only solidify the notion that the NFL brotherhood is a rather insecure bunch — insecurity that briefly morphed into outright intolerance during Super Bowl week, when San Francisco defensive back Chris Culliver unleashed an anti-gay rant. Now, we know Culliver doesn’t speak for all NFL personnel, but not helping the matter is a report that NFL teams are “curious” about Manti Te’o’s potential homosexuality, which addresses one theory that bubbled up in the aftermath of the fake girlfriend scandal.
We also don’t yet know who asked Kasa those questions — we found out in the case of Dez Bryant, so maybe the league will investigate this as well — but the NFL should probably cool it on the sexual orientation stuff before someone else sticks a foot in their mouth.