Brendon Ayanbadejo: Players have to say they’re straight to keep draft stock
During a radio interview on Thursday, Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell reportedly said that he had been asked a line of questions similar to the “Do you like girls?” queries Colorado tight end Nick Kasa admitted he faced at the NFL combine.
“Yeah, yeah … just like that,” Bell said. “I mean, I got asked so many of them, I don’t remember them all, but that was definitely a couple questions that I got asked, too.
Kasa told the CJ and Kreckman Show that, “They ask, like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend? Are you married? Do you like girls?’ Those kinds of things.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued a statement Wednesday, saying that the league will investigate Kasa’s claim:
“We will look into the report on the questioning of Nick Kasa at the Scouting Combine,” NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement. “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.”
Kasa and Bell’s remarks come on the heels of Manti Te’o being asked during his combine press conference if he currently has a “real” girlfriend, and just weeks following San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver taking substantial heat for making the comment that a gay teammate “can’t be … in the locker room.”
“I don’t do the gay guys, man. I don’t do that,” Culliver told radio host Artie Lange. “Ain’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.”
Ravens linebacker Brandon Ayabadejo, a noted advocate for equal right and gay marriage, spoke out against Culliver’s comments in New Orleans. And he joined MSNBC’s The Ed Show with Ed Schultz on Wednesday, to discuss what might have gone on inside the combine’s interview rooms.
“Teams are really fickle, there’s all kinds of things they want to know,” Ayanbadejo said. “A lot of teams really want to talk to you, get a feel for your personality, see what you’re like. If you give the wrong answers, that could be the difference between going to that team in the first round and slipping to another in the draft.”
Ayanbadejo said that he hopes the league soon has “our Jackie Robinson, our pioneer for gay rights and equality,” but that incoming rookies should tell teams what they want to hear.
“Selfishly, I think players need to say that they’re straight right now,” Ayanbadejo told Schultz. “You need to get drafted as high as you can get drafted, get the money while you can …
“The way things are going right now with the bigotry that still exists and discrimination that still exists within the locker room and sports arena in general, I think you need to say, ‘Hey, I’m straight, I love women’, and keep things so-called normal. Maybe later, once you’ve established yourself and when we break down some of these walls in the NFL, players will be more comfortable to be who they are.”
You can watch all of Schultz’s report, which includes his interview of Ayanbadejo, below: