Can NFL teams legally ask college players about their sexual orientation? They clearly shouldn't, but legally it's a complicated issue involving states' anti-discrimination laws and federal labor law, as I write about in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (March 25, 2013 issue). My article is titled "Loaded Question" and it's on page 16. Special thanks to the smartest lawyer around, Alan Milstein, for his insights.
Here's a brief excerpt:
But in Washington, D.C., where the NFLPA is based, and in 21 states, including those that are home to 13 NFL teams, it is unlawful for private employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. When local laws are taken into account, as many as 25 teams could be barred from asking prospective employees about sexual orientation.
The jurisdiction with one of the toughest laws against such bias is New York, where the NFL is headquartered. The CBA, which amends the standard NFL player contract, stipulates that New York state law applies when federal law does not. In other words, a prospect who sued the league for discrimination could make a reasonable case.
Hope you have a chance to read the rest in this week's issue.