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NFL reminds teams of league’s anti-discrimination policy

Monday, April 29, 2013
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NEW YORK — The National Football League distributed a document to its teams Monday reiterating its anti-discrimination policy on sexual orientation.

A memo sent Monday by Commissioner Roger Goodell to ownership, front-office personnel and coaches says: “Please ensure that this document is made available to all players and staff.”

It includes a section on questions teams cannot ask prospective draft picks and free agents. After the NFL combine in February, three players said officials posed questions relating to their sexual orientation.

Examples given of prohibited queries include: “Do you like women or men? How well do you do with the ladies? Do you have a girlfriend?”

The document also says “any jokes, comments or pranks” about an employee’s sexual orientation constitute harassment. Examples are “giving someone a sexual gag gift” or hiring a stripper for an employee’s birthday party. “Offensive or degrading words or phrases” and posters or screen sa vers of a sexual nature are also harassment.

The timing of the memo proved appropriate. Later Monday, veteran NBA center Jason Collins became the first active male professional athlete in the four major North American sports leagues to come out as gay.

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