The Ed Show | February 27, 2013
>>> and in the big finish tonight, this next story could cause some real problems for the national football league . a young draft prospect says he was asked about his sexual orientation during an interview at the bine. the story shed some light on how far gay rights have come for some americans and not others. california passed proposition 8 limiting marriage to a man and a woman five years ago. another example, this week 75 prominent republicans and 200 major corporations asked the government to overturn proposition 8 . "don't ask, don't tell" has already been repealed, and the president has declared his support for same-sex marriage. here is another sign of change. these young men were legally married in the chapel at west point military academy just a few weeks ago. but these young americans may not share the same freedom. the athletes at the national football league combine, well, they can't come out. it's illegal to ask anyone about their sexual orientation during a job interview . so tight end nick kasa says he was caught offguard when a perspective employer asked if he likes girl.
>> did you get any weirdly personal questions?
>> yes. they asked -- they asked like do you have a girlfriend? are you married? do you like girls? those kind of things. and it was just kind of weird.
>> kasa won't say who asked the question, but the nfl announced today that it will investigate. meanwhile, star linebacker manti te'o is being asked repeatedly by reporters about his sexual orientation . and nbc sports commentator mark florio says the coaches are curious too.
>> here is the elephant in the room for the teams, and it shouldn't matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the industry, the unique industry that is the nfl . teams want to know whether or not manti te'o is gay. they just want to know.
>> we'll see a lot of new talent come out of the draft this april, always, but none of them will be really able to come out at all. i'm joined tonight by brendan ayanbadejo , who is a super bowl champion linebacker for the baltimore ravens , a three-time pro bowler , and a pioneer of marriage equality and gay rights advocacy in the national football league . brendan, congratulations first of all. you've had an awesome year, and thanks for being on the program tonight. this is a pretty dicey subject for the national football league . this is new territory for teams dealing with this. is sexual orientation the elephant in the room for the nfl ?
>> i mean, apparently it has been, but this the past it really hasn't been an issue. and now it's been on the forefront after what happened with the san francisco 49ers in the super bowl and what happened with me earlier in the season when a delegate from maryland called me out and asked me to be quiet and not talk about equal rights . so it seems like it's not only on the forefront of the nfl , but it's also on the forefront for politics and things that are going on within our country as well.
>> do you think that a player's answer at the columbine could affect their chances of getting drafted or moving up or down or even out of the draft?
>> yeah, you know, teams are really fickle there are all kinds of things they want to know. sometimes they'll take a chance and sometimes they won't take a chance. it all depends on how your interviews go and also how well you the at the combine. but a lot of teams want to talk to you, they want to get a feel for your personality, they want to see what you're like. and they really want to get that one-on-one facetime. if you give them the wrong answer, that could be the difference between being with that team or slipping to another team later in the draft.
>> what do are think is the right answer if a player is asked about his sexuality in the nfl ?
>> well, selfishly, you know, i think players need to say that they're straight right now. you need to get drafted as high as you can get drafted, get the money while you can. your career is only going to last 3.5 years. initially right now with the way things are going with the bigotry that still exists and the discrimination that still exists in locker rooms throughout the nfl and sports arena in general, you need to say hey, i'm trastraight, i love women and keep everything so-called normal. and maybe later once you establish yourself and when we break down some of these walls in the nfl , players will be more comfortable to really be who they are.
>> so the best counseling, the best answer from an agent or advice from an agent right now to a player would be just go ahead and lie about it?
>> well, i think, you know, selfishly, players need to do that right now. and of course, that's why you haven't seen a player come out in the nfl yet. but that's why mayors like myself and chris kluee work so hard and feel they'll be better people and better football players as well. do.
>> you feel in the future there will be players coming out and staying on rosters?
>> absolutely. it's just a matter of time. i think it's going to happen really soon. but right now at this nfl combine , i don't think you're going to see that. maybe next year or the following year we feel like we're going to see our jackie robinson , our pioneer for gay rights and equality. and you know, we're going to there to support that player and make sure he has a support group around him so he has everything that he needs.
>> okay. brendan ayanbadejo , great to have you on "the ed show" tonight. thank you for your answers. i appreciate it very much. and that is "the ed show." i'm ed schultz . "the rachel maddow show" starts right now from washington.