New Poll: 86% of NFL Players Back Out Teammate
A new poll found that 86 percent of National Football League players would be ok with an openly gay man on their team, according to ESPN.
The poll, created by ESPN.com's NFL Nation and ESPN The Magazine, issued the anonymous survey last week, not long after NFL draft prospect Michael Sam announced to the world that he is gay. Fifty-one players answered four true-or-false questions about an openly gay teammate.
The poll found that most players weren't worried about a gay teammate, but were more concerned about the trouble "that players would have with learning how to relate to an openly gay teammate," ESPN writes.
"Forty-four players said a teammate's sexual orientation didn't matter to them, and 39 said they would be comfortable showering around a gay teammate. But 32 players said they had teammates or coaches who used homophobic slurs last season, and when asked whether an openly gay player would be comfortable in a NFL locker room, just 25 players said yes; 21 said no, while five declined to answer," ESPN says.
One of the biggest concerns players had would be how they can relate to a gay teammate and if they would need to behave differently around him.
"Whoever takes [Sam in the draft] should have an open talk at the beginning of camp, where everybody can ask what he's comfortable with, what offends him, what boundaries there should be," a starting recovered said in the survey. "When it comes to race, people already know the boundaries, to a certain extent. But I don't think football players are overly familiar with what can and can't be said around a gay person."
The poll comes not long after Sam told the media he is gay. He is poised to be the first openly gay player in the NFL, should a team draft him this spring. After coming out, the athlete has been hit with a wave of criticism, but also has received support from a number of NFL players and even the White House.