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N.Y. Attorney General: NFL Must Investigate Teams Asking About Sexual Orientation

By Jase Peeples

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is urging the NFL to investigate allegations that potential recruits were illegally asked about their sexual orientation at the recent NFL Scouting Combine.

“We ask that the league immediately issue a statement that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by league teams or players against potential recruits or players constitutes a violation of state, local and, in some cases, contractor law and will not be tolerated,” Schneiderman said in the letter. He also asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to schedule a meeting with him on the matter by Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the issue was already being investigated by the league and would be discussed at its meeting in Phoenix next week.

His request follows on the heels of remarks made by University of Colorado senior Nick Kasa. In an interview with ESPN Radio in late February, Kasa claimed recruiters at the NFL Scouting Combine asked him several probing questions about his personal life, including “Do you have a girlfriend?” and “Do you like girls?” Other players corroborated that they were also asked similar questions at the Combine.

After Kasa’s story caught the attention of the media, the NFL released a statement, saying, “Like all employers, our teams are expected to follow applicable federal, state and local employment laws. 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.”

In a response to Schniderman’s letter, Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally, said, “We have seen how important leadership from the commissioner's office is when it comes to gay inclusion in sports. It was former commissioner Paul Tagliabue who worked diligently behind the scenes to include an antidiscrimination clause based on sexuality in the collective bargaining agreement. Now, with the call for the league's policy to be more fully articulated, we are confident Roger Goodell, who maintains a public track record supporting gay rights issues like antibullying, will make this part of his legacy as commissioner.”

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