YardBarker- Eli Apple, who played high school football in New Jersey, was making an appearance on Comcast SportsNet’s “Breakfast On Broad” on Friday when strange combine questions was brought up.
“I’ve been asked a lot of weird questions. I don’t know if I could say on TV,” he said. “The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, ‘So do you like men?’ It was like the first thing he asked me. It was weird. I was just like, ‘no.’ He was like, ‘if you’re going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that’s how it is around here, you’re going to have to get used to it.’ I guess he was joking but they just ask most of these questions to see how you’re going to react.”
“I am really disappointed in the question that was asked by one of our coaches,” Quinn said in a statement released by the Falcons, via CSN Philly. “I have spoken to the coach that interviewed Eli Apple and explained to him how inappropriate and unprofessional this was. I have reiterated this to the entire coaching staff and I want to apologize to Eli for this even coming up. This is not what the Atlanta Falcons are about and it is not how we are going to conduct ourselves.”
That's the only explanation, right? Why else would Dan Quinn apologize for one of his employees being completely thorough during the scouting process? Everyone knows the questions that are asked of the athletes at the combine aren't genuine questions. They are used to gauge how a player feels about a certain subject. This unnamed coach wasn't wondering if Eli Apple was gay, he was wondering how Eli Apple would react to the assumption that he might be gay. I personally think that's a great way to judge whether or not a prospect is open to the idea of playing alongside homosexuals. That seems like a pretty important part of joining an NFL locker room in 2016. That whole Michael Sam thing didn't work out, but one day there is going to an openly gay football player that's more concerned about playing football than he is about promoting his sexuality. I think that Eli Apple's facial expression in response to that line of questioning would speak volumes about how willing he would be to share the showers with him.
It would be one thing if this coach implied that liking men was wrong, but that's not at all what happened. Sometimes that's how it is in Atlanta. Sometimes dudes like dudes, and there in nothing wrong with that...unless their Head Coach finds out apparently. No dudes liking dudes on his watch. He finds out he's employing a gay player and he'll be the first one out there vehemently apologizing for doing so. If he is going to have gay players on his team then he does NOT want to know about it. That's why the slightest mention of men liking men had him going on some tangent about being inappropriate and unprofessional. As far as I am concerned fostering an accepting environment that allows players be themselves is as professional and appropriate as it gets. Too bad that's not what the Atlanta Falcons are about. Better tell the NFL Combine Class of 2016 to stay in the closet because there is one less job opportunity for them outside of it. That's just not how the Atlanta Falcons conduct themselves, and given Dan Quinn's appearance can you even say you're surprised?