In an interview with Comcast SportsNet's "Breakfast on Broad," Apple said the question came up while he was talking to a coach for the Atlanta Falcons.
"I've been asked a lot of weird questions. I don't know if I could say on TV," he said at first. Then, he continued: "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."
Although Apple told the coach no, he said the coach continued to press him on the issue.
"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,'" he said. Apple's full interview on Comcast SportsNet is available here.
After the chat aired early Friday, Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn released a statement distancing his team from the remarks, noting that he was "really disappointed" in the question.
"I have spoken to the coach that interviewed Eli Apple and explained to him how inappropriate and unprofessional this was," he said in the statement, SB Nation reports. "I have reiterated this to the entire coaching staff and I want to apologize to Eli for this even coming up.
"This is not what the Atlanta Falcons are about and it is not how we are going to conduct ourselves."
“This is disappointing and clearly inappropriate as the Falcons have acknowledged,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy in an email. “We will look into it."
The head of the players union denounced the question too. DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, called it a "another dehumanizing moment" in the history of the combine.