Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame linebacker involved in a love hoax that confused much of the nation earlier in the year
, is being considered as a draft pick by several National Football League scouts who are curious about his sexuality, according to an NBC Sports report.
NBC Sports’ Mike Florio said the teams that are considering selecting Te'o in the upcoming 2013 draft, are interested in knowing whether the star college player is gay or not. The draft runs April 25 through April 27.
"Here’s the elephant in the room for the teams, and it shouldn’t matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the unique industry that is the NFL," Florio told The Dan Patrick Show. "Teams want to know whether Manti Te’o is gay. They just want to know. They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it’s a different world. It shouldn’t be that way."
When asked in late January by Katie Couric on her ABC show "Katie" if he is gay, Te'o flatly denied the suggestion telling the host with a laugh, "no, far from it [pause] far from it
." Couric didn't press the question.
The questions over Te'o's sexuality stem from the hoax revealed in mid-January by Deadspin.com
in which Te'o mourned the death of a fabricated ex-girlfriend who he never personally met but claimed to love based on online encounters.
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, another person involved in the hoax came forward to profess love for Te'o and to say the football player was a victim, but rumors circulated that Te'o might have played a role in the hoax to conceal his homosexuality.
As for whether Te'o's sexuality would affect his being drafted, Florio said he believed it wouldn't necessarily dissuade a team from drafting Te'o, but he added that it would likely be a factor in their decision.
"Tony Dungy makes a great point on this. If the NFL were ready for an openly gay player, there would be an openly gay player," said Florio. "Nobody knows better the feel of an NFL locker room than someone who’s in it."
"I’m not saying anyone would take Manti Te’o off the board if they suspected he’s gay or know he’s gay," said Floria, "That’s just the thing that’s out there that they want to know the answer to."
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