Falcons coach apologizes for questioning Eli Apple about sexual orientation

Sporting News
Marquand Manuel apologized for asking the former Ohio State cornerback if he liked men during interviews at the NFL Combine last month.

Falcons coach apologizes for questioning Eli Apple about sexual orientation

Marquand Manuel apologized for asking the former Ohio State cornerback if he liked men during interviews at the NFL Combine last month.

Falcons assistant coach Marquand Manuel on Monday apologized for asking former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple if he liked men during interviews at the NFL Combine last month in Indianapolis.

"I take full responsibility for the inappropriate question I asked at the combine," Manuel said in a statement. "It was wrong and I apologize to Eli Apple, [Falcons owner] Mr. [Arthur] Blank, the entire Falcons organization, my family, and our Falcon fans for my insensitivity.

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"I understand it was inappropriate and the offense people have taken to it. I have had an individual counseling 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."

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said "was disappointed" and spoke to Manuel about the incident and addressed the issue with other coaches as well.

In recent years, coaches at the combine have been known to ask outlandish questions to register a reaction. However, asking about a player's sexual orientation is strictly prohibited to prevent discrimination.

"The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, 'So do you like men?' It was like the first thing he asked me," Apple told Comcast SportsNet's "Breakfast On Broad" show. "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."

According to ESPN, an NFL spokesman said the league is looking into the incident but wouldn't speculate on any potential disciplinary action.

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