(NEW YORK) — The National Football League illegally discriminated against three prospective players when several teams reportedly asked them about their sexual orientation, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
“Employment discrimination is ethically wrong and illegal no matter who the employer is,” Schneiderman said.
Three players at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, Le’veon Bell of Michigan State, Nick Kasa of Colorado and Dendard Robinson of the University of Michigan, were widely reported to have been asked questions intended to determine their sexual orientation.
Such questions followed the fake girlfriend hoax involving Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
New York State employment discrimination laws prohibit companies that are based in the state, like the NFL is, from asking employees or potential job candidates about their sexual orientation. The attorney general’s office said at least 20 of the 32 NFL teams are located in jurisdictions that have similar laws in place.
Under the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement teams are not allowed to discriminate against players who are currently under contract. Schneiderman is hoping the NFL will adopt a similar policy for prospects.
“Everyone deserves equal protection under the law and the right to a fair workplace,” Schneiderman said.
The NFL said it has been looking into the matter and will discuss it further next week during a league meeting in Phoenix.
“It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement February 27. “Any team or employee that inquires about impermissible subjects or makes an employment decision based on such factors is subject to league discipline.”
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