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Report: Falcons’ ‘gender-based’ questions may have been widespread

Courtesy of Trevor Ruszkowski, USA Today Sports

We all read the reports that Ohio State defensive back Eli Apple was asked about his sexual orientation by a member of the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.

The report was about as troubling as it gets. Who in the world cares about sexual preference when it comes to athletes? This should be a non-starter in terms of prospects being interviewed.

It really is an archaic thought process — one that the NFL itself needs to get over in short order.

Now comes this report from D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicating that said questions may have been widespread.

Per the report:

“The Falcons use of gender-based questions at the NFL scouting combine may have been more extensive than just one to Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple, according to a person familiar with the NFL combine interviewing process and questions asked.”

Ledbetter goes on to cite an unnamed source that suggests a few players were asked gender questions by the Falcons during the combine.

The unnamed source also concluded that teams “want to be careful” after the situations surrounding Michael Sam and Jonathan Martin.

Careful of what, exactly? That’s the million-dollar question here.

For their part, the Falcons did issue a public apology to Apple after the report came across the wire on Friday.

That’s fine and dandy, but a change in culture is what’s needed here.

The NFL is currently investigating this situation and could fine the Falcons or strip them of a draft pick if findings come back that protocol was broken here.