The NFL combine already provides very limited information regarding potential draft picks, seeing as those invited to participate do so in their shorts and t-shirts. In addition, many of the drills the future NFL players participate in at the combine do not directly translate to an actual football game. The one thing the combine should be truly useful for is allowing the 32 NFL teams to get to know potential draft picks better. But it seems that too often teams ask inappropriate questions of the players, which is why all NFL combine interviews should be recorded.
All NFL Combine Interviews Should Be Recorded
Derrius Guice is just the latest player to be asked insulting questions at the combine. The former LSU running back advised that this year one team asked him if he likes men while yet another team asked Guice if his mother is a prostitute. In an interview with SiriusXM NFL on Wednesday night on the show “Late Hits” Guice said the following:
”It was pretty crazy,” Guice said. “Some people are really trying to get in your head and test your reaction. I go in one room, and a team will ask me ‘do I like men,’ just to see my reaction. I go in another room, they’ll try to bring up one of my family members or something and tell me, ‘Hey, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?'”
Unfortunately instances like these are nothing new and not out of the norm at the combine. In 2010 Dez Bryant was asked by the Miami Dolphins if his mother was a prostitute. In 2013 three NFL draft prospects were asked a series of questions regarding sexual orientation. Eli Apple, in 2016, was asked by Atlanta Falcons Marquand Manuel whether he was gay.
No Value to These Questions
The whole point to NFL teams meeting with prospects at the combine is to become much more familiar with these potential players and to get a better understanding of whether or not they’d be a good fit with their organization. Each meeting is essentially a job interview. Asking these types of wildly inappropriate questions is tantamount to creating a hostile workplace environment.
Even if the people who are asking these insulting questions are doing so just to try to get a rise out of a player, it is still incredibly inappropriate and the answers or reactions of the players to these types of questions are and will never be indicative of whether or not they can play football and succeed in the NFL.
Since this continues to be an issue and certain teams/interviewers just can’t seem to help themselves the NFL needs to step in. And there is a simply solution. It’s very possible that the teams who posed these questions to Guice will be found out, but that’s not a given. And even if everyone finds out the teams responsible, all that will happen is said teams will release a statement apologizing for the questions. But nothing will actually be done to institute real change and there will be more stories of NFL prospects being asked inappropriate questions at future combines.
The solution is to record all combine interviews and any personnel and teams who are found guilty of asking such offensive questions should be banned from the combine. Hopefully this would cause teams and their front office personnel to be much more aware of the types of questions they ask during these interviews.
Maybe the teams asking these questions (and the NFL by extension) should be more concerned with their current players who have been arrested for domestic violence, DUIs, etc. Being guilty of domestic violence is a serious character flaw and something that should not be tolerated. A player, or anyone else, preferring someone of the same sex isn’t an “issue.” However, domestic violence is absolutely an issue that should be taken much more seriously.
On Thursday the NFL released the following statement regarding the questions Guice was asked:
“A question such as that is completely inappropriate and wholly contrary to league workplace policies,” said the NFL. “The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all employees in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, state and federal laws and the CBA. We are looking into the matter.”
Unfortunately the NFL probably won’t do much more than release this statement and maybe send a somewhat sternly worded letter to all 32 NFL teams, stating these types of questions are “unacceptable.” The NFL needs to take steps to eradicate this type of questioning and mindset in their league. It’s 2018 and the NFL should join the rest of us.