A question on sexual orientation in a recent pre-draft interview by an NFL official raised many eyebrows and a debate over reforming the list of pre-draft questions itself.
Cincinnati Bengal’s official asked his prospective draft pick Geno Atkins in the interview if he was straight or gay. Though Federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) protects job applicants from answering pre-employment questions that are designed or used to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin and certain other protected categories. It’s interesting to know that sexual orientation is not one amongst them.
Even as we hear rumors and innuendos on many players’ homosexuality once in a while, it’s almost zero to none that we see them coming out publicly. Few in NFL’s history like Esera Tuaolo, David Kopay, Roy Simmons who did eventually come out of the closet couldn’t do that until they stopped playing for their respective teams.
The machismo associated with the game and the built and skills of the professional players doesn’t really bring out the stereotype gay in our minds and hence making it harder for the fans to accept them, let alone their own fear of assaults and insults by their fellow team players and fans alike.
Until we have a more open minded society, their true identities will remain hidden under the shadow of their incredible careers.