On the heels of the news that the Falcons asked Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple about his sexual orientation at the Combine comes a report that the inappropriate line of questioning was more widespread.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC reported that an unnamed source told him teams "have to be careful," though from the source's comments, what exactly they have to be careful about is unclear.
"A few players told me the Falcons were asking gender questions," the person said. "After (Michael) Sam and the Jonathan Martin situation, teams want to be careful."
Michael Sam, of course, came out as gay prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. It's difficult to draw a connection between what this source described as "gender questions" and offensive guard Jonathan Martin, who left the Dolphins amid an ugly bullying situation in Miami.
Some have suggested that the unnamed Falcons coach responsible for the inquiry to Apple was trying to alert Apple to the fact that there is a large gay population in Atlanta, but most people are aware that gay people exist, and it does not justify the decision to ask a prospect that question. This line of questioning, which could ostensibly lead to discrimination based on sexual orientation, is against the law. The legality of it is is not debatable.
D. Led reported that all members of the Falcons' coaching staff have completed sensitivity training to help them learn to deal with these issues in the workplace in a socially appropriate and legally compliant way. Led also said that the coaching staff was made aware of the league's memo reminding teams that it is not only against NFL policy to inquire about a player's sexual orientation, but it is also a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Each team is permitted to interview 60 prospects at the Combine, and as D. Led pointed out, it's highly unlikely that Apple was the only prospect subjected to this line of questioning by the Falcons. The league called this situation "disappointing" and "clearly inappropriate," and they are investigating the matter. It's very possible the Falcons, after losing their fifth round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft for the fake crowd noise fiasco, will face sanctions from the league.
Defensive line coach Bryan Cox also got into a physical altercation with a member of the Arizona Cardinals staff during the Combine, so basically, the Falcons were a catastrophe at the Combine this year.
Dan Quinn apologized for the inappropriate and illegal sexual orientation question posed to Eli Apple shortly after the news broke, but no further action has been taken by the team at this time.