How many of you have had to interview for a job in the last five years? 10 years? You know how a job interview generally goes then, right?
You usually find yourself in a crammed, semi-uncomfortable chair waiting to rehash your carefully worded answers to the same questions each interviewer has asked since time immemorial (or at least it feels like it).
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"Why do you think you would be a good fit for this company?"
"Do you like girls?"
If the last one caught you off-guard, you're not alone. Generally speaking, it is considered inappropriate for an employer to ask personal questions/information of potential employees.
That, however, has not stopped some NFL teams at the combine from asking players like Colorado tight end Nick Kasa that very question. While it's not illegal under federal law to ask questions about sexual orientation, 21 states (and Washington D.C.) prohibit asking these kinds of questions; many of these are states where the NFL's teams play and operate.
Now we've all heard before that being a player in the NFL is not like any other job, that it's different from more mundane jobs like data entry or liontaming. Does that give teams the right to delve into the personal lives of their players? More importantly, should it matter what these players' answers are?
It's a thorny question. Has the culture within the NFL changed enough to where a gay player would be accepted in a locker room without causing a potential firestorm within the organization and/or killing team morale? Would being tabbed as gay cause a player's draft stock to slide down into the late rounds or out of the draft entirely?
Before I continue, I'd like to say that I believe we are more than capable of discussing a hot-button topic such as this one without having the discussion devolve into little more than a shouting match full of invective, political rhetoric, and hate speech. We have done this before without incident, and I believe this group is more than capable of the same kind of spirited debate that was displayed in prior threads. If I am wrong, then I will accept complete responsibility and will delete comments and lock the thread as necessary, but I truly hope it won't be.
Personally speaking, I tend to think of NFL executives as pragmatic individuals. Their job is to build a team to win championships, to put the team in the best possible position to win. Period. It shouldn't matter to them if a player is gay, straight, or even if he's a eunuch. If that player can help the team win games, that's all that really should matter. I don't think it's their business to know one way or the other, and it should not affect where (or if) they take a player. I'm glad to hear that the NFL is launching an investigation into teams asking questions about players' sexual orientation.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, Rick Smith had a top 5 pick, and at the time of the Texans' pick there's a can't-fail Haloti Ngata-esque nose tackle who was expected to go first overall (I know, it doesn't happen, but bear with me), but has slid because of his orientation. Would you want Rick Smith to pass that nose tackle up simply because he was gay? Or would you be drooling over a defensive line of J.J. Watt, this all-universe nose tackle, and Antonio Smith?
As you all know, this is a trick question. Rick Smith would never take a nose tackle in the first three rounds.
Simply put: Should NFL teams ask players about their sexual orientation? Should it matter whether these players are gay or not?
I open the floor to you.