NFL 'review continues' after Falcons assistant apologizes for asking if player was gay

Nate Davis, and A.J. Perez
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The NFL has not yet decided whether to punish Atlanta Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel, who asked a player if he was gay at last month's NFL scouting combine.

The league's "review continues," spokesman Brian McCarthy e-mailed to USA TODAY Sports on Monday, when the Falcons identified Manuel as the person who posed the impermissible question — which violated league policy and some labor laws — to Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.

“I take full responsibility for the inappropriate question I asked at the Combine. It was wrong and I apologize to Eli Apple, Mr. Blank, the entire Falcons organization, my family, and our Falcon fans for my insensitivity," Manuel said in a statement issued by the team.

NFL to investigate Falcons coach who asked if player was gay

"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.”

In an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports, the Falcons referred any questions about discipline for Manuel to the NFL.

Apple detailed the conversation in an interview with Comcast SportsNet on Friday but did not identify Manuel.

"The Falcons coach, one of the coaches, was like, 'So do you like men?'" Apple said. "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, who apologized on behalf of the team last week, said Monday’s training seminar was another step to ensure question’s like Apple faced would not happen again.

“Our organization holds itself to a high standard and we will learn from this,” Quinn said in a statement.

Quinn said Manuel questioned Apple outside of the 15-minute formal interview with prospects.


Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis and A.J. Perez @byajperez

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