Falcons assistant apologises for asking NFL draft prospect about sexual orientation


Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Marquand Manuel issued an apology after asking NFL draft prospect Eli Apple whether he liked men.

Apple revealed the shock line of questioning regarding his sexual orientation at the scouting combine last week, though the former Ohio State cornerback did not disclose the identity of the Falcons representative involved.

However, Manuel took full responsibility for the "inappropriate" question he asked the 20-year-old.

"It was wrong and I apologise to Eli Apple, [Falcons owner] Mr. [Arthur] Blank, the entire Falcons organisation, my family, and our Falcon fans for my insensitivity," Manuel said in a statement released by the Falcons on Monday.

"I understand it was inappropriate and the offence people have taken to it. I have had an individual counselling session on social responsibility today, and was part of a staff session as well, and found it very valuable in learning from this situation.

"Moving forward, I will become a better man by going through all of this."

Apple was left stunned by the question he was asked at the combine, telling Comcast SportsNet on Friday: "The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, 'So do you like men?' It was like the first thing he asked me.

"It was weird. I was just like, 'No.' He was like, 'If you're going to come to Atlanta, sometimes that's how it is around here, you're going to have to get used to it.'

"I guess he was joking, but they just ask most of these questions to see how you're going to react."

Falcons coach Dan Quinn added: "I have spoken to every coach on our staff individually and collectively today in regards to what happened at the combine.

"The inappropriate conversation occurred between one of our position coaches and the player; it was not during one of our formal 15-minute interviews. Following my discussions with the coaches, we have taken additional steps to ensure our entire staff is well educated on the appropriate questions and comments that should be made during these processes.

"We had a training seminar with a league-approved counsellor here at our facility today with our entire coaching staff regarding social responsibility. Our organisation holds itself to a very high standard and we will learn from this."