NFL finds no specific violations in investigation of scouting combine questions

April 4, 2013
(Associated Press)
Colorado tight end Nick Kasa. (Associated Press)

The league’s investigation of the questions asked of players during the team-by-team interviewing process at the NFL scouting combine in February has yielded no specific evidence of any violations, according to a league official.

The investigation was conducted after one player, Colorado tight end Nick Kasa, said during a radio interview following the combine that he’d been asked about his sexual orientation.

“Our review has not established any specific violations, but we have made it clear to our clubs what is acceptable when interviewing potential players and other job candidates,” Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of communications, said in a written statement.

According to a person familiar with the investigation, the league is leaving open the possibility of taking action in the future if information is found that a violation occurred.

Kasa did not identify the team or teams involved.

He said during an interview with a Denver radio station: “They ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls?’ 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.”

Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of the state of New York, wrote in a letter last month to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that it is illegal in the state for an employer to make any inquiry expressing “limitation, specification or discrimination as to … sexual orientation” to a prospective employee.

Schneiderman wrote to Goodell that at least 20 of the league’s 32 teams are located in jurisdictions with similar prohibitions. He asked Goodell for the league to clarify its position and sought a meeting with the NFL’s investigators.

The league said previously that its teams are expected to follow all applicable laws and the sport’s collective bargaining agreement prohibits discrimination against any player, including on the basis of sexual orientation. League policy prohibits teams from considering or inquiring about sexual orientation during the hiring process, the NFL said previously.

Goodell said at last month’s annual league meeting in Phoenix that the NFL had provided training to executives from its teams.

“We are… working with all of our executives that lead in that position to make sure they understand what you can’t ask and what you can ask,” Goodell said then.

Goodell also said at the league meeting: “We’re a professional organization. That’s unacceptable. We will do things the right way. We will give them that education and that training. I hope that will solve the problem.”

The findings of the league’s investigation were first reported by CBS Sports.

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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Keith McMillan · April 4, 2013