Sometimes fans forget that the NFL is a typical ‘business,’ which needs to operate as such and abide by all employment laws. The latest warning to the NFL will remind everyone, fans and league the same, exactly what a few of those laws are.
The National Football League has been warned by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that under no circumstances are employees of the league allowed to inquire into the sexual orientation of prospective players.
Schneiderman spoke on the matter:
“Employment discrimination is ethically wrong and illegal no matter who the employer is. From the Scouting Combine to the playing fields, everyone deserves equal protection under the law and the right to a fair workplace.”
He also adding that he hopes he can work with the NFL “to send a powerful message that employment discrimination will not be tolerated in any form.”
In a scenario only exacerbated by the recent Manti Te’o saga, three prospective players said in a recent interview that they were asked ‘whether they had girlfriends or whether they liked girls.’ The three players (Le’veon Bell of Michigan State, Nick Kasa of Colorado and Denard Robinson of the University of Michigan) were asked the questions at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine.
“They ask you ‘Do you have a girlfriend, are you married, do you like girls,'” Kasa told CJ and Kreckman of ESPN Radio in Denver.
It seems like there is a minor loop-hole though, as the prospective players are technically not employees. Under the current collective bargaining agreement teams aren’t allowed to discriminate against players who are under contract, but that leaves a little grey area for players not under contract. The NFL has confirmed that they will be addressing the matter next week at a league meeting.
“It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement Feb. 27. “Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”
In a letter to Roger Goodell, Schneiderman also asked that the NFL make clear of their stance on the matter “by issuing a public statement that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by League teams or their employees or agents against potential recruits or players constitutes a violation of state, local and in some cases contractual law, and will not be tolerated.”