How NOT to Interview a Job Candidate, the NFL Edition

The NFL Combine just took place last week in everyone's sort-of favorite convention city,  Indianapolis, Indiana.  A jarring news story came out of that event wherein an official from an unidentified NFL team asked a prospect, LSU running bank Darrius Geice, "if he liked men" during the interview.  Yes, according to the story as reported, an NFL team asked a potential employee if he was a homosexual in the job interview. 

While that by itself is startling - that an major employer like an NFL team - can be so foolish as to ask a blatantly illegal interview question to a job candidate, the response that one hears on sports talk radio is equally surprising.  Unbelievably, there are a fair amount of people out there who have no idea that this question potentially violates Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964

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#TakeTheKnee, Part II: Why the NFL Teams Must Allow the Protests to Continue

The NFL is subject to a Collective Bargaining Agreement, the most recent version of which went into effect in 2011.  The term of the current CBA is ten years and it will expire in 2021 (the "NFL CBA"). 

In the overwhelming response to my prior writings on the #TakeTheKnee controversy (the first article from 2016 here, and yesterday's post here) one astute commenter asked whether the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement has any impact on the NFL's official stance on player protests in uniform.

In short, a close reading of the NFL CBA shows exactly why the NFL has no choice but to let the players protest, at least within the confines of the 2017-2018 season.  

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Free Speech, The NFL, The President & #TakeTheKnee

It was slightly over a year ago that I wrote about the new (at the time) controversy that was roiling the NFL, which was Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem prior to the 49ers games.  The purpose of Mr. Kaepernick's actions was to draw attention to police brutality issues among other things.  The media and the talking heads on ESPN in particular seemingly couldn't stop talking about it.  

At the time, from a legal standpoint it was quite simply about the rights of an employee to voice their personal opinion in a very public way while working for a private employer.  The NFL, as you know, is not the US Government, nor is it a state or municipal government for that matter.  The NFL is a private entity, as are the 32 NFL franchises that employ the NFL players.   Because of this fact, there is no civil rights issue, and there is no free speech issue.  It is WELL settled that private employers can dictate employee conduct while the employees are on company time - for instance  when an NFL player is suited up on the field about to being playing a nationally televised game.  

Fast forward one year, and the debate has persisted.  Mr. Kaepernick was released by the San Francisco 49ers and and not been signed by another NFL team despite there being a clear need for starting caliber quarterbacks. 

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