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NFL agrees to new measures to protect gay athletes

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
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ALBANY, N.Y. — The NFL is taking action to better protect gay players from harassment and discrimination as a result of meetings with New York state’s attorney general.

Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday that the NFL will promote what he calls a “culture of inclusion” for gay players and recruits and other prospective players. The deal includes hanging in locker rooms posters that underscore the NFL’s anti-discrimination policies.

The league agreed to conduct training about the anti-discrimination policy during its annual Rookie Symposium and Football Operations Meeting and in other meetings and to host other periodic training meetings throughout the year. It will make it clear that prospective players also are protected by the policy.

The meetings between the NFL and the attorney general’s office were informational and cooperative, and the league wasn’t facing any charge and didn’t need to agree to the measures.

After the NFL combine in February, three prospective draft picks said officials asked questions relating to their sexual orientations, which could have violated law.

The NFL, which has long had an anti-discrimination policy, said it found no “specific violations.”

Schneiderman applauded the NFL for “working cooperatively with our office to address these issues.”

“Together, we are sending a powerful message that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated in any form,” he said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league has “a long history of valuing diversity and inclusion.”

“Discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation is not consistent with our values and is unacceptable in the National Football League,” he said.

In February, prospective player Nick Kasa, of Colorado, told ESPN Radio in Denver that during interviews with team officials at the combine in Indianapolis: “(Teams) ask you, like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ ‘Are you married?’ ‘Do you like girls?’”

He did not identify who asked him.

Later, Michigan’s Denard Robinson and Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell indicated in radio interviews that they were asked similar questions.

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