Dan Mosher’s brief thoughts on Derrius Guice’s interview at the NFL Scouting Combine, and how the failed culture in the NFL enables discrimination to take place.
On Wednesday, former LSU running back and potential first-round draft prospect Derrius Guice told Sirius XM Radio that a team had asked if he liked men during one of his interviews at last week’s NFL Scouting Combine. Guice also stated that a team implied his mom “sells herself”, and asked how he felt about that.
Guice’s full remarks:
“Some people really try to get in your head, man, and really just test your reaction and see what your reaction is going to be. I’d go in one room and a team would ask me, ‘Do I like men?’ just to see my reaction. They’d try to bring up one of my family members or somebody and tell me, ‘Hey, man, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?’ Just random stuff like that, man, to see how you respond. Even though I know those things aren’t true and they know those things aren’t true, they’ll still hit you with it to see how you’ll react to it.”
In any other profession, this would’ve resulted in an open and shut lawsuit. Hell, even if this was an interview for a corporate NFL job, or a team front office role, it would’ve been unacceptable.
Guice implied that teams use questions like these as a way to goad the prospects into a response. Unfortunately, history shows that this is far from the first time something like this has happened. How are we supposed to decipher between a team just trying to poke the bear, and a team engaged in deliberate discrimination?
In 2016, when the Falcons coaching staff posed the same question of sexuality to Giants CB Eli Apple, the staff apologized, but the league did nothing. It’s no surprise that whichever team asked the question now wasn’t afraid a punishment from 345 Park Ave.
Changes need to be made now, starting with a real punishment for this team in question. NFLPA President De’Maurice Smith suggested on Pro Football Talk that the team should be banned from the 2019 Combine, and Mike Florio has called for the NFL to record all combine interviews going forward.
While these measures are sure to have an effect on how combine interviews are run, it won’t be enough to change the decades long culture the NFL has built for itself. Regardless of the motives this team had in it’s questioning, this episode only confirms every previous notions of how NFL management lacks any respect for the players that sacrifice their bodies for record-setting, front office profit.
The NFL will do all it can to let these wide-eyed college kids know who holds all the power. When they get into the league, they’ll structure their contracts with minimal security, they’ll cast them aside when they get injured, and silence them when they protest. When they leave the league, they’ll be forgotten, forced to live with the lifelong pains of their labor.
As more and more parents steer their children away from football, the league is sure to face a serious talent deficit if it fails to mount a full scale, player-centric culture change.
Photo Credit: NFL.com