When I first saw the headline, I thought it was Kobe Bryant and ignore the story. However after hearing it debated for over an hour on the radio, across a couple days, I had to check out the Miami GM apologizing to Des Bryant. It’s quite a story, and I think this definitely a big mistake on the GMs part.
When you are interviewing people there are things you can ask, and things you cannot ask. There are also things that you should not ask. This was probably an illegal question since this was essentially a job interview, but it was definitely an improper question.
What can and can’t be ask varies by state in the US. Most of the guidelines are based on non-discrimination laws, which are interpreted to say you can’t ask how old someone is, if they have kids, etc. What you can do is ask them to talk about themselves, but you can’t ask a woman, for example, if she plans to get pregnant in the next year. There’s a good list here in a PDF.
I heard one former NFL player on the radio say that he would have punched the guy for asking the question, and it would have been a bad move. I tend to agree, but I’d think I’d cheer him on for doing it.