An assistant coach for a National Football League franchise has asked another prospect at this year’s NFL scouting combine if he was gay.
The 2016 NFL scouting combine has just concluded with 20-year-old prospect, Eli Apple being sucker punched by unwarranted intrusion. Mr. Apple was bluntly asked “Do you like men” by an unnamed assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons. The young man responded, “No” but now he must use his athleticism to fend off a pass thrown by an idiot.
Adding insult to injury, team head Coach, Dan Quinn heard of the incident and responded with a gay apology… yes, a gay apology. His published statement sounded more like it came from the NFL’s head of weak apologies policy handbook, then a sincere statement coming from an outraged leader and coach.
USA Today reported Quinn saying, “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.”
Really coach? I could be wrong but a head coach would have reminded his staff against what is inappropriate, unprofessional and what the team was not about, before the staff stepped foot onto its charter flight. And saying, “I want to apologize…” is the ultimate non-apology. “You’re fired” is a more sincere statement.
Firing this individual might seem too harsh for the offense committed. And I’m sure the young man offended by this disregard for privacy would not seek such a punishment. However, consider the plight of Michael Sam.
Sam’s dream of playing in the NFL, as an openly gay player will probably never be fulfilled because of homophobia. Not by teammates who I believe would have allowed him the opportunity to make a living playing the sport he loves. The real problem falls at the feet of upper management of all sports or “Expert” sports fans who know every player that has missed a play, tackle or dropped a ball did so because he was a “Fag.”
Sam admitted it was a “Mistake” for him to come out in college; hurting his chances at an NFL career. But he was no doubt led astray by advisors. Then there is the, always looking to quench its thirst media, along with well-intentioned gay advocates looking for their next hero. These accomplice deserve the lion’s share of blame for turning an athlete’s dream into a nightmare by simply placing sexual orientation above the human right of privacy.
No parent should have to be put in a position to explain how their young athlete ended up being front page news for, how high they can jump over homophobia or for how fast they can out-run a scarlet letter. But parents too must look in the mirror. Michael Sam’s father was reportedly ashamed of his son’s sexuality.
Though I think the young man blindsided in this latest NFL gaff should be more upset with a coach’s halfhearted apology, I am more concerned with the league’s promise to investigate.
With suspension and fines as their MO (modus-operandi), a suspension will most likely be equivalent to, two week of surfing in Hawaii. And a fine, equivalent to paying two dollar for a speeding ticket. In other words, next year’s NFL scouting combine can expect to feature a similar, “Opps, my bad” gaff question concerning someone’s sexuality.
To their credit, some owners of these billion dollar sports franchises think so highly of player (employee) privacy, they will not enter the locker room unless invited by the players. The locker room has been a sanctuary for players and coaches since the first locker room was created. “What goes on in the locker room stays in the locker room.”
Today, due to successful lobbying by journalistic perverts, its lights and cameras for both male and female beat reporters. Greater access to the real action of nude or nearly nude athletes; under the pretense of getting a fresher or more accurate “Story” makes no sense, especially when juxtaposed with respect of privacy for the women’s locker room being still intact.
Sadly, I must admit that locker room privacy, now reduced to towels around the waist status, is still more private then the attempted intrusion of pulling back the sheets with bedroom type questions posed by an individual who apparently flunked his Miss Manners class.
Furthermore, with promises of support and “You’ll be a role model”, gay advocates lead the charge. Celebrating and encourage professional athletes to come out is a sin against common sense. At the risk of sounding like making a boys will be boys, statement, if these same groups could promise that those who come out will not end up charged with DUI or other criminal activity, they would be just as believable. The reality is, how can a homosexual, encouraged to come out, reasonably expect to be accepted by those who are in the wrong?
The single most important aspect of being free is privacy. Apple Computer’s CEO Tim Cook is willing to fight the federal government for privacy all the way to the Supreme Court. And I am betting the High Court will laugh at the federal government’s attempt to in essence, make human rights a crime.
In the meantime, until coaches, gay advocate and sports fans value privacy as a human right and realize that being homosexual should never be a one size fits all campaign, the NFL should look to hire a head of gay apology policy.