No more questions.
The NFL Combine has been under fire in recent years for several reasons. Some critics point to the idea of exploiting of young athletes, while others note the interviews with prospects that have ruffled feathers and resulted in negative headlines.
MORE: Watch the NFL Combine live with fuboTV (free trial)
The latter has caught the eye of the viewing public for years. NFL front offices have grilled prospects with tangential and, at times, highly inappropriate and offensive questions.
The line of questioning by teams got so bad that the league had to tell teams in 2022 to knock it off or suffer consequences. The NFL sent a memo to teams warning them that “disrespectful, inappropriate or unprofessional” conduct during interviews would result in fines or forfeiture of draft picks.
MORE: Complete list of 2023 NFL Combine invitees
Inappropriate questions aren’t a new issue. In one infamous episode, former NFL wideout Dez Bryant was asked at the 2010 combine whether his mother was a prostitute.
That and other controversial combine questions are listed below:
Dez Bryant asked if his mother was a prostitute
Arguably the most egregious of the inappropriate questions was asked by former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who questioned the background of Bryant’s troubled mother.
“I got mad — really mad — but I didn’t show it,” Bryant said. “I got a lot of questions like that: Does she still do drugs? I sat and answered all of them.”
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Ireland would later offer a vague apology for what he asked Bryant.
“Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him,” Ireland said.
NFL prospects asked if they like men
Players’ sexual orientation was a popular question for a long period of time, but now it fits into the “do not ask” pile (and rightfully so).
Bengals cornerback Eli Apple recalled when the Falcons asked during the 2016 NFL Combine if he was interested in men:
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.
Former running back Derrius Guice was also asked if he likes men — and he was also asked if his mother was a sex worker.
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NFL prospects asked if they find their mothers to be ‘attractive’
Most NFL players are momma’s boys, but definitely not to this extent. Dane Brugler, now with The Athletic, detailed in 2016 that the strangest question he heard asked was if a player found his mother to be “attractive.”
Strangest interview question I’ve heard a NFL team ask a prospect so far: Do you find your mother attractive? #NFLCombine
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 25, 2016
Certainly, they’re all very beautiful women. Just maybe not in the way that a certain NFL team was implying.
‘When did you lose your virginity?’
In 2015, Obum Gwacham, who played very briefly in the NFL, was asked by a team when he lost his virginity. Brugler says that Gwacham did not answer the question.
Strangest question DE Obum Gwacham has heard at the Combine: “When did you lose your virginity?” (He didn’t answer)
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 20, 2015
Preferred murder weapon?
Former NFL player Austen Lane says he was once asked what his murder weapon of choice would be: a gun or a knife.
When a scout asked me at the combine if I had to murder someone: Would I use a gun or a knife? pic.twitter.com/R5BHMxiDM7
— Austen Lane (@A_Train_92) February 23, 2016
Safe to say, NFL teams won’t be asking that question anymore.