NY AG Says NFL Can’t Fish for Information about Player’s Sexual Orientation at Combine
On March 14, 2013, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a warning letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after rumors emerged that the league was asking players about their sexual preferences when they reported to the scouting combine – employer behavior which is illegal in many jurisdictions. The questions at issue were directed to three incoming college players who were allegedly asked whether they had girlfriends, whether they were married, or whether or not they “liked girls.”
New York prohibits prospective employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual preference. Twenty of the league’s 32 teams are in jurisdictions with similar laws. The move by New York’s AG was aimed at preventing the league’s use of such questioning in the future. Schneiderman remained positive about the situation, stating “I hope we can work together with the National Football League to send a powerful message that employment discrimination will not be tolerated in any form.” Later, he noted “From the Scouting Combine to the playing fields, everyone deserves equal protection under the law and the right to a fair workplace.”
Brian McCarthy, spokesperson for the NFL, announced that the league has “been looking into the matter and will discuss it further next week at the NFL annual meeting in Phoenix.” Officially, the NFL’s policies and player’s collective bargaining agreement prohibit discrimination on a variety of basis, including sexual orientation.