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A picture of employment discrimination in the NFL

When many people think about what it means to play sports professionally, they regard athletes as doing just that: playing. After all, team members participate in win-and-lose games to determine which is the best. And since a lot of kids learn to play the very same sport as their favorite athlete, it's no wonder they might have a difficult time thinking of that same athlete just doing their job. Though, professional sports teams operate much like other big businesses in California and across the country, and are subject to the same laws. That is why concerns have been raised recently about whether an institution like the National Football League (NFL) may be condoning illegal practices such as employment discrimination.

The attorney general of one state has contacted the commissioner of the NFL to discuss issues regarding teams potentially violating anti-discrimination laws. While no official charges of unfair treatment have been brought against any specific team or the league, the attorney general is seeking answers on the matter.

The state official, and the country, first learned of the potential issue when a football player commented on one NFL team's drafting process during an interview. The young player noted that he was asked about his relationship status, implying he was also vetted about his sexual preference. He now contends that his comments were blown out of proportion, but other players have made similar claims.

Prospective employees cannot be disqualified from a position based on protected statuses like gender, disability, religion and sexual preference. Therefore, such topics should not be brought up at any point during a job interview or football draft meeting. In the office or on the field, the same employment laws apply.

Source: USA Today, "N.Y. attorney general turns up heat on NFL," Lindsay H. Jones, March 14, 2013

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