WASHINGTON, DC — The Human Rights Campaign has joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in calling on the NFL to explain and address deeply disturbing reports that some prospective players are being asked inappropriate questions about their sexual orientation.
"Neither the NFL nor any employer should ever ask the sexual orientation or gender identity of prospective candidates for the purposes of making personnel decisions," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Not only is it deeply offensive and wrong to refuse to hire a player because of who they are or who they love, but in many cities and states it's illegal. We join with Attorney General Schneiderman in calling on the NFL to explain how the league plans to put a stop to such troubling incidents of discrimination."
ESPN reported recently that one player attending the NFL Scouting Combine was asked by a coach from the Atlanta Falcons if he was gay. Georgia is among the majority of states that lack a statewide LGBT non-discrimination law. Both Atlanta and Indianapolis, where the combine was held, prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2013, three draft prospects were asked a series of questions that included sexual orientation, ESPN reported.
The NFL has a non-discrimination policy protecting all employees and applicants for employment from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as does the collective bargaining agreement that protects players from discrimination by the NFL.
There are no explicit protections against discrimination in employment at the federal level for LGBT people, leaving millions of LGBT workers at risk for being fired or denied a job because of who they are or who they love. The Human Rights Campaign encourages all individuals who believe they have experienced discrimination in employment, including during a job interview, to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Currently, only 20 states and the District of Columbia include statewide non-discrimination protections in employment for LGBT people. Of the 408 municipalities rated in HRC's Municipal Equality Index, 100 cities reported having ordinances on the books banning discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Nationwide, more than 225 cities have non-discrimination ordinances that prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.