NFL Prospect Nick Kasa Says Recruiters Asked About His Sexual Orientation

Earlier this week I reported on some remarks by sports columnist Mike Florio indicating that NFL recruiters at this year's Combine were interested in finding out whether or not Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te'o is gay.

The interest presumably stems from questions surrounding Te'o and the fake girlfriend hoax.

KasaHowever, Te'o is reportedly not the only player to be asked about his sexuality, the HuffPost reports:

NFL prospect Nick Kasa was asked by scouts about his sexual orientation at the NFL Combine, the tight end said in a radio interview on Tuesday.

Kasa, a senior at the University of Colorado, is one of a few hundred players who participated this week in the NFL Scouting Combine, an annual showcase for NFL prospects in advance of April's draft. Over the course of the Combine, participants submit themselves for a variety of physical and mental tests, as well as interviews with NFL teams. According to Kasa, it was during these interviews that the topic of his sexual preferences came up.

“[Teams] ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married?’ Do you like girls?’” Kasa told CJ and Kreckman of 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.”

UPDATE: In remarks regarding this report, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Outsports the league is investigating:

“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.”

Comments

  1. Robert in SF says

    Just a quick comment…I don’t think it is, per se, illegal to *ask questions* about race, ethnic origin, physical handicaps, religion, etc., during a job interview….it is illegal to make hiring or firing decisions based on the answers…

    So asking about it isn’t the problem, it’s using the info when making a go/no go decision.

    Just my interpretation of the law.

  2. DUMBASSES says

    The asinine sports reporters conducting the radio interview KNEW that he’d been asked about his sexual preferences, and they kept asking pointed questions to get him to tell that he’d been asked whether he liked girls. And then, of course, HAHA!YUK!YUK! they asked what his answer was.

  3. Jack M says

    Forget the legal issues here, the question is why the NFL needs to know in the first place. It’s none of their business. In fact, it’s a little creepy that they ask in the first place.

  4. Alex Parrish says

    @Cal — the problem is that is ISN’T illegal to ask questions about sexual orientation in the majority of states. Sexual orientation is not a protected class in most states. It could be if ENDA passes but right now it is not. Many employers have policies to prevent this, but that is up to the individual employer in most cases. Of course the real question is why is this any of their business. It isn’t, but as long as it is legal to ask, some of them will.

  5. Alex Parrish says

    @Dont Ask; I think either you live in a state where there is a law covering sexual orientation (one of a few) or you are misinformed. As an HR professional in a firm that does protect for sexual orientation, I would never do it, but most states have no laws preventing it.

  6. ChicagoR says

    Don’t Ask: It’s not strictly “illegal” to ask people certain questions in interviews about things like race, sex, etc. There is no one sitting in jail for asking those questions. But it’s stupid to ask a question that could so easily get you in legal trouble. There’s no reason to ask about race, and merely asking the question may show your intent to discriminate. So people say it is “illegal” to ask the question when in fact it is not. And if you live in a jurisdiction where there are no protections for gays, it’s even less of a legal problem to ask about sexual orientation.

  7. EchtKultig says

    Yes, of course it’s not illegal to ask this question in most states. But that’s not really the issue. The question is why they are asking it at all.
    There was a very memorable essay year and years ago in XY magazine (yes, I was young enough to legally read it at the time LOL) about how professional sports arose because of changes in the cultural construction of masculinity that took place between the 19th and 20th century. To whatever degree that’s true, the NFL is a big part of American heteronormativity. However, to ask the question in this context is, IMHO, to curiously queer the question. On the surface it’s easy to think they just want to “keep queers out of the NFL”. It’s a given that they must have realized the mere asking of the question would leak to the media. But I wonder if an underlying motive…buried in the “collective subsconscious” of the NFL which surely exists even for an organization mostly run by rich, white, antediluvian blockheads – is to ready “die volk” for even the possibility of such a thing in the future.

  8. Chitown Kev says

    One other possibility here that I see noone mentioning is that the NFL may be looking for a potential NFL player who does have the courage to come out.

    It would certainly create a bit of positive buzz for the NFL in the light of other scandals like the concussion issues, the bounty issues with the Saints, etc.

  9. Onnyjay says

    Let’s get real: seriously hot/cute/humpy/yummy. If he’s not gay or bi, what a waste. If he is, boyfriends will be lining up for blocks, now serving #455.

  10. Dan Cobb says

    @ Don’t Ask:

    You say it’s illegal to ask? BS! I’m a lawyer who practices in EOE law, and it is perfectly legal to ask a person about their sexual orientation just about everywhere in the USA.

  11. John says

    @Dan Cobb,
    I’m an employment law attorney as well, and I sure hope you advise your clients not to ask questions about race, sexual orientation, etc. during a job interview unless the question is job-related (and in most cases, it won’t be). Asking questions of that nature is asking for a lawsuit if that person isn’t hired.

    You’re right that it’s not illegal. It’s just economically stupid. Juries, at least here in San Francisco, would view evidence of asking about sexual orientation as a smoking gun for disparate treatment. The best business practice is to make sure that every question asked is job-related.

  12. Ninong says

    @ROBERT IN SF: I don’t agree with your interpretation of the California FEHA, which governs employment discrimination in California. I was told specifically not to ask year of birth, religion, race, sexual orientation, marital status, whether an applicant had any children, and even to avoid asking specifically about any previous criminal problems. However, we were allowed to inform the applicant that if chosen, he/she would be required to fill out a bonding application and that the bonding company would make their own decision about whether to cover that person on our insurance against potentional theft and that we needed to make a photo copy of their California driver’s license for our insurance company.

    I usually avoided any questions at all about criminal history and just left it up to the bonding company to figure that out. The reason we had to bond certain employees was because they would have occasional access to large sums of cash. If it was someone I was about to hire, I usually pointed out to them the obvious, that any unusual number of moving traffic violations would probably result in them being denied coverage on our policy. I once had an applicant tell me he had two or three speeding tickets when it turned out he had 12 violations in the previous three years, including two for DUI.

  13. Ninong says

    @JOHN: I’m glad you pointed that out because I was hiring in SF myself and was warned by our attorney to never ask certain questions that I covered above. I forgot to mention that we were told not to ask a married woman anything at all about pregnancy or any plans to become pregnant in the future.

    Only once did I get concerned that I may have gotten myself in trouble in an interview and that was when I was dealing with a hostile female applicant who felt I was asking too many questions about her previous employment history in an attempt to figure out her age or marital status. It wasn’t that at all because her sexual orientation was very obvious to me and I was merely establishing the fact that she was over qualified for the position.

  14. Buster says

    IN MORE THAN HALF THE STATES, IT IS LEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION! People seem to be forget this fact.

    THIS IS WHY WE NEED ENDA TO BE PASSED!

    To clarify – as Mr. Cobb’s said – technically it is not illegal to ASK about sexual orientation (just like it’s not illegal to ASK if you’re married, if you have Asian ancestors, or if you’re 60 years old.) BUT it IS illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in SOME places. So as an employment atty, I would tell a client not to ask about orientation (or marital status, or race or age), because why would it care or ask unless it was planning to discriminate on that basis? Asking is a “bad fact” if the company ends up being sued for discrimination.

    HOWEVER, Indiana (which is where the Combine took place) is one of 29(!) states that does NOT prohibit discrimination laws based upon sexual orientation. So if a company is hiring there its atty might advise it that it CAN ask if someone is gay, because IT’S LEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GAYS THERE!

    The proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would cover all 50 states and make it much more difficult for any interviewer to claim to have a legal reason to ask about orientation and would therefore help reduce discriminatory hiring practices.

  15. Ninong says

    @BUSTER: Are you sure Indiana laws would apply to a company headquartered in California (e.g., SF 49ers) just because the potential employee is “trying out” there? I’m not an attorney, but I would be surprised if a California team could get away with any violations of the California FEHA by claiming they “interviewed” the employee in Indiana.

    In my experience, San Francisco has the toughest protections in the country against virtually any sort of discrimination in hiring and I seriously doubt that the 49ers would try to claim that they were governed by the laws of the state of Indiana.

  16. Jake says

    While it is not illegal to ask questions about sex, national origin, race, age, disability, genetic information, or religion during a job interview, employers cannot make hiring or any other decision based on the answer to those questions, or inferences related to those classes. However, sexual orientation is not even a protected class in federal law, and only protected in 21 states. So, in 29 states, it is legal to overtly deny someone a job or fire them because of their sexual orientation.

  17. robert says

    “Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”

    Subject to fines and prosecution.

  18. jaragon says

    NFL combine is an excuse for these handsome athletic young men to run around in tight shorts- it’s soft core gay porn for straight men- who ever asked Mr Casa the question probably was impressed by his assets…

  19. daws says

    Disgusting. Kudos to Nick for speaking out. I hope they bust whoever asked the question and print his/their fraking name. The only way that line of questioning is acceptable is if they were going to ask Nick out…because that’s what I’d do lol.

  20. Buster says

    @Ninoing – Sure, yes, you’re right. If, say, the Raiders were discriminating there would probably be a claim under California law. I was trying to avoid over-complicating my basic point that in MOST states it’s still perfectly legal for employers to say “we don’t hire fags.”

    (As for the 49ers and SF law — now that I’m being all lawyer-y — the Niners could argue that, while they play in SF at Candlestick, their actual hiring is done from their home office in Santa Clara, so they aren’t subject to a discrimination claim under SF law any more than, say, the N.O. Saints would be just because they come play in SF. This is the kind of silly stuff lawyers get paid to argue about.)

  21. Chevytexas says

    All you “lawyers” out there: like many, I’ve hired for nearly 40 years in many states. The legality in this case isn’t the statute, it’s the hiring policies, in this case the NFL who, from what I’ve read here and elsewhere says they’ll pursue what sounds like a problem with their recruiter, hsppens every day, doesn’t involve the EOC. The violation was that of an employee. Kasa shows the happy shrug of young acceptance, not a plaintiff. Good for him.

  22. Ninong says

    @BUSTER: Actually I wrote that the Niners would be subject to California FEHA (Calif. Fair Employment and Housing Act), as would any company in the state. What I meant about San Francisco, in particular, is that, unlike Orange County, juries in San Francisco are more likely to take the side of the plaintiff in such cases.

  23. andrew says

    Nick Kasa is such a big muscular beautiful guy that the recruiters couldn’t help themselves. Nick is the kind of guy that almost all women, most gay men and lots of straight men would give it up to. Myself included. Nick, life is unfair. You are just going to have to accept the fact that you look like a god.

  24. David Hearne says

    I have experienced similar questions at both an oil company and a major New York bank. It wasn’t in the interviews, but after I had been hired that certain guys asked questions like “are you married?” followed by “Do you have a girlfriend?” The intent was pretty obvious. I didn’t make an issue out of it because laws and policies can’t cover every scenario and these questions can easily be claimed to be innocent curiosity.

    At Megabank, the culture of “diversity” and the “safe workplace” had everyone so uptight that many people never spoke to other people unless it was absolutely necessary. Before they were done, the place was almost all female. Apparently women will put up with that crap but men won’t.

  25. Stephen says

    It may be unacceptable…but his football career just went right out the window….he will never get hired for “squealing”. Its the NFL….they can do what they want in the hiring process.

  26. says

    It is weird. I once had a marine ask me if I had a girlfriend. Then he asked if I had a boyfriend. And for a split second, I thought about replying, “Are you hitting on me?,” but before knew it, I had already scowled my face (in bewilderment, not anger) and said no.

  27. EchtKultig says

    As I attempted to say twice in a post that was for some reason moderated away: he’s almost certainly straight (dommage) and they asked him well knowing he would leak it. Your “reasoning” is 100% flawed, Nola. If he were closeted, he would never have revealed the question. If they do ask someone who’s a college football player and is closeted, that person is already going to be good at lying…to himself and others. That’s why this whole thing seems like a bit of a red herring.

  28. says

    “It may be unacceptable…but his football career just went right out the window….he will never get hired for “squealing”. Its the NFL….they can do what they want in the hiring process.”

    It’s not just the NFL. A lot of high-paying, high-profile employers do whatever they want in the hiring process and even after you’re employed as well.

  29. Bill says

    @nola: his reaction to the question does not indicate that he is gay. If he is straight, he probably has half the women at his university trying to get a date with him and could go out with whomever he wanted. It would have been so obvious that nobody would ever have bothered to ask such a question. No wonder it sounded weird to him.

  30. J.D. says

    Legal, illegal — does it really matter? This is not a country of laws. Few violations of anything get prosecuted. There is always an insider elite that rules. Unless you want to spend 10 years or more in litigation and ruin any prospect of practicing whatever profession you love, you are going to play along. If we can extrapolate from other estates, pro sports has a huge DL quotient with big names in on the big secret, and fresh willing blood is regularly recruited to fill stables, fresh blood more than enthusiastic about keeping the secret and playing the double-life game.

  31. billmiller says

    I ran for office as a republican back in the 80’s in Indianner, the phyllis shaffly group liberty forum asked all candidates one by one in private (grilled actually) about sexuality and gay marriage. Weird!

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