This week, LSU standout and expected first-round NFL draft pick Derrius Guice revealed in an interview that when he was at the NFL Combine, teams asked him a number of questions that have no place in the interview process, including if he liked men and about his mother allegedly being a prostitute.
Guice told said, on SiriusXM NFL Radio:
“I go in one room, and a team will ask me do I like men, just to see my reaction. I go in another room, they’ll try to bring up one of my family members or something and tell me, ‘Hey, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?’”
Guice had been warned that teams would try to “break” him with tough questions at the Combine and he said he was ready. Perhaps he’s managing his job prospects, as the draft is weeks away. Maybe he’s being laid back about the questions because he hasn’t been hired to play on Sundays yet.
But what happened to Guice, and probably many other players, is wrong. No one should be asked about their sexuality in any job interview, period. And what kind of soulless monster asks someone in a job interview about his mother being a prostitute? How does that affect his 40?
The NFL needs to act quickly to weed out these teams. Ban them from the Combine. Take away draft picks. Fire the employees responsible.
A lot has been said of these homophobic and misogynistic questions, which have been asked of players before and, without a severe backlash and discipline by the NFL, will continue to be asked. Some of it has rightfully pointed out the boneheadedness of these types of questions.
Other commentary has attempted to the bolster this idea that NFL teams need to See How The Guy Reacts To Hard Questions. The NFL teams are just trying to Judge If He Can Handle Himself. They’re making a Big Investment in these players, goes the argument.
It’s hogwash, frankly. Just an attempt to justify the interviewers not having progressed beyond the emotional maturity of a middle-schooler. And even if it weren’t, big name players, including Guice, have had countless chances to mess up and fail and present themselves and their teams in a bad light.
Reactionary questions simply aren’t necessary if NFL teams know how to Google.
Another equally ridiculous and, frankly, incredibly dangerous assertion made by the Wrongs attempting to justify this practice, is that asking these “tough” questions will help weed out players like Ray Rice, who beat his fiancée on an elevator, to avoid the team from embarrassment. One commentator suggested that “testing” young men in this way would avoid having a Matt Lauer-type situation, where a talent with a multi-million dollar talent sexually harasses women in the workplace.
That someone would suggest that asking a player about his sexuality or if his mother is a prostitute is necessary to prevent future Rices or Lauers is a level of off-the-charts homophobia that you pray just really doesn’t exist in people’s hearts. It’s shameful.
To be clear, sexual assault and domestic abuse have literally nothing to do with a person’s sexuality or who members of his family sleep with. Sexual assault and domestic abuse are about unchecked power and dominance. They have nothing to do with sex. Nothing at all.
You know what stops sexual predators? A culture of respect where all people are treated equally, people are not shamed for their sexuality and predators are revealed and punished swiftly and harshly. Period.
What does it say about the culture of the NFL that the Big Scary Question some teams ask players about them is if they are gay? What does it say that NFL teams attempt to humiliate players and their family members, all in the name of Hiring A Running Back?
A guy like Guice might’ve been prepared for the questions. And because of his first round potential, he has a platform to discuss what goes on in those interviews in a way that a player with dimmer prospects might not.
But what about the guy who is sitting in that interview, scared he won’t get a job in the NFL if he says he is gay? That question might mean that he’ll feel pressure to hide his sexuality, to live a lie, simply so he can get a job. Even though it has no bearing on a player’s ability to play football, being out in the NFL is hardly common. And, with questions like these being asked before players are even hired, it’s easy to see why.
Derrius Guice is a special player. He had 29 career touchdowns and rushed for more than 3,000 yards in three seasons at LSU. That’s what you need to know about him. One more thing: he has shown himself time and time again to be capable of handling himself with grace – the story of his guidance counsellor moving him out of an unstable family situation and into her home has been told many times in the media.
This intense spotlight, with media and fans following his every move, may shine even brighter on him when he plays in the NFL. If he is lucky, the attention he received while in Baton Rouge is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are a lot of reasons to have faith in his ability to handle the pressure. But if he or any other player drafted this year doesn’t react well to the attention or has an off-the-field problem that embarrasses his team, it won’t be because someone failed to ask them enough offensive questions in the interview process.