One of the most embarrassing epochs in this team's recent history—and let's be clear, there have sadly been many of them—occurred when defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel asked cornerback prospect Eli Apple whether he liked men during an informal conversation at this year's NFL Scouting Combine. That kicked off some soul-searching for the organization, a lot of (justifiably) negative media coverage, and caused the NFL to look into the matter.
After all that, the damage appears primarily to have been to the team's reputation, as the NFL will not be handing down any punishments.
Goodell says he doesn't anticipate any further discipline against Falcons for their questioning of a prospect about his sexual orientation.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 23, 2016
From a fan perspective, this is the best possible news, given that the forfeiture of draft picks would cost the Falcons even further as they attempt to build their roster back into a contending one. Instead, Atlanta is simply left with a (hopefully) powerful lesson about what you can and cannot ask players in a professional setting, and an urgent need to find some good press after a nightmarish start to their offseason. You can bet there will be a lot of people watching to make sure the Falcons don't screw up like this again.