By now, it’s been established that scouts and coaches at the NFL Combine ask prospects some pretty absurd questions. Former Jaguars, Lions, and Bears defensive end Austen Lane recalled a bunch of them here, with the notable ones being “If you could kill someone and not get caught, would you?” and “”I see you have dreads, you smoke weed don’t you?”
Well, the Atlanta Falcons decided to ask one prospect – Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple – a question that wasn’t as “absurd” as much as it was “wholly inappropriate.” Apple made a television appearance on Friday in which he recalled that the Falcons asked him if he likes men.
“The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, ‘So do you like men?’ It was like the first thing he asked me. It was weird. I was just like, ‘no.’ He was like, ‘if you’re going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that’s how it is around here, you’re going to have to get used to it.’ I guess he was joking but they just ask most of these questions to see how you’re going to react.”
So, a few things here. For one, Apple’s sexual orientation is none of the Falcons’ business, so this question is really stupid. Additionally, asking this doesn’t really help the team gain any insight into Apple’s ability as a football player, and even if the intent is to see how he’s going to react, it’s still pretty inappropriate to judge a person based on their reaction to this question unless they start spewing hate speech.
Word of this eventually got back to Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn, who released the following statement:
“I am really disappointed in the question that was asked by one of our coaches. I have spoken to the coach that interviewed Eli Apple and explained to him how inappropriate and unprofessional this was. I have reiterated this to the entire coaching staff and I want to apologize to Eli for this even coming up. This is not what the Atlanta Falcons are about and it is not how we are going to conduct ourselves.”
An NFL spokesperson told CSNPhilly that the league will look into this. Apple also mentioned that he couldn’t repeat some of the other questions he was asked during the Combine, so if this was deemed appropriate enough to say on television, who knows what kind of stuff he had to answer.