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Questions during interview bring up discussion on discrimination

The arrival of a certain superstar quarterback in Denver last year likely added to the legions of football fans in Colorado. Even though the National Football League is currently in the offseason, there are still many exciting activities taking place as the 32 teams prepare for the new season to begin in September. Recently, the annual Scouting Combine took place in Indianapolis, a kind of workout and interview get-together for prospective players, coaches and owners. During the event, which takes place over several days, prospective players are interviewed by the representatives from teams - interviews that are essentially evaluating the players for employment.

Usually the Scouting Combine produces only a few major headlines, as on and off-the-field events raise or lower certain players' status in the eyes of team decision makers before the NFL Draft in April. However, this year one prospective player, a former tight end for the University of Colorado, said he was asked some strange questions during his interview with a team, and the report set off a series of inquiries into whether or not NFL teams are engaging in employment discrimination.

According to the player, he was asked questions that seemed intended to discover his sexual orientation. Questions like "Do you like girls?" were asked during the interview. NFL rules prohibit discrimination based on sexual preference, and lawmakers across the country have begun to assert that this type of discrimination should also be prohibited under federal law.

Currently there are several laws which protect employees against discrimination, including the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The questions at the Scouting Combine may have temporarily stirred up interest in discrimination against prospective employees in sporting circles, but for those who have actually suffered from discrimination there are legal options to consider.

Source: ESPN.com, "NFL to check into players' claims," March 1, 2013

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