The NFL Scouting Combine is not a place for sanity. Firstly, there’s the extreme overemphasis on the 40-yard dash, an event which measures straight-line speed, and only straight-line speed. That’s nice and important for pass catchers and defensive backs, but it carries marginal — and often minimal — importance for everyone else. Yet here we are, widely predicting that Manti Te’o will fall dramatically because a linebacker who isn’t fast ran a slow 40. Ugh.
But the real insanity of the Combine takes place far away from the cameras during the interviews, when teams get an opportunity to sit down with the prospects of their choosing for 15 minutes. Players are asked if their mothers are prostitutes, and other such matters.
This year one executive decided to ask a player if he likes girls. As in, if he’s sexually attracted to girls.
No really, that happened to Colorado tight end Nick Kasa. He talked to CJ and Kreckman on ESPN Radio in Denver, and shared his, um, interesting Combine experience during the interview process:
“They ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married?’ Do you like girls?’” Kasa told the hosts. “Those kinds of things. It was kind of weird. But they would ask you with a straight face, and it’s a pretty weird experience altogether.”
I get it. Even with the cap on rookie contracts that was implemented by the most recent CBA, teams are still making a significant financial commitment to these players, so determining whether or not the player in question is a turd remains paramount. The turd population of the NFL may in fact be small, but as long as there are Titus Youngs intentionally lining up in the wrong spot and Mikel Leshoures having nice marijuana snacks, absurd questions will be a staple of Combine interviews.
But a players’ sexual preference has absolutely no connection to how much of a jerk he may or may not be. Merely by asking it even in passing, the implication is that a team wouldn’t be comfortable with a gay player in their locker room, something that’s been the subject of widespread discussion over the past month following Chris Culliver’s comments during Super Bowl week.
What if Kasa said no, and said that he doesn’t like girls? What would the team do with that information? If they have a need at his position, would they pass? Probably not, or at least I hope not. But there’s no justification whatsoever for asking that question in any interview setting, even in the circus with freaks that stick nails in their foreheads that is an NFL interview.