Posted February 17, 2014

ESPN survey: Eighty-six percent of NFL players OK with gay teammate

NFL
Michael Sam (Rich Sugg/Getty Images)

Michael Sam led the SEC with 11.5 sacks last season. (Rich Sugg/Getty Images)

In light of Michael Sam coming out as gay, ESPN conducted an anonymous survey of 51 NFL players, asking them four true-false questions regarding a potential teammate’s sexual orientation.

Forty-four of the 51 polled (86.3 percent) responded false when asked if a teammate’s sexual orientation mattered to them.

Trying to determine how Sam will be received by the NFL has been a focus since his announcement. SI.com’s Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans spoke with eight NFL coaches and executives about how welcome an openly gay player would be in the league and received sobering answers. “I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” one told them.

BEDARD: Michael Sam: Studying the Game Tape

The players surveyed by ESPN were also asked about showering with a gay teammate, the use of slurs in the locker room and how comfortable a gay player will feel.

The results:

A player’s sexual orientation matters to you.
True: 7
False: 44

• I had teammates and coaches who used homophobic slurs this past season.
True: 32
False: 19

• I would shower around a gay teammate.
True: 39
False: 12

• An openly gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room.
True: 25
False: 21
No answer: 5

SI WIRE: Michael Sam Sr. says he was ‘terribly misquoted’ regarding homophobic comments

Some players also offered suggestions for the team that selects Sam.

According to one starting wide receiver, “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. 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.”


85 comments
CjMacintosh
CjMacintosh

Why do they have to even bring it up, I don't need to know their sexual preference. I don't watch sports because someone is gay or straight so why even bring it up. I'm sure there are other men in the sport who are homosexuals, they don't get hired for their sexuality they get hired based on their ability in sports. I just don't understand anymore why people feel the need to air all their business, its going to tarnish the sport for what it really is. I don't watch football or any other sport based on someones sexual preference.

2001mark
2001mark

I think these are legit responses.


Players are not being asked to change their political views here, merely to accept people for who they are; in a workplace no less.  



KeysSteven
KeysSteven

Not much of a sampling but it's what Sam & agent expected.

LuscioustheCat
LuscioustheCat

You can stop with the shower excuse now. Why? Because gays represent roughly ten percent of the population. That means roughly ten percent of the locker room is gay, going ALL THE WAY BACK TO WHEN FOOTBALL STARTED. Which means gay men are and always have been staring at your puny junk if they wanted to. I am not gay but I would have no problem showering with gay men because I am comfortable within my manhood.


I would rather deal with reality than live a lie. Stop fooling yourselves. They are already in that locker room. If you cannot handle the truth then that says much more about you than it does about them.

Edward1
Edward1

These guys' careers are on the line.  I wouldn't trust a member of the media (off the record, anonymously, or whatever) with true feelings about their pet issue, here. Survey or not...once the locker room doors are shut, it'll be a whole different ball game. I once did rehab at Henry Ford hospital in Detroit and the Lions were there for their physicals (with a woman doctor). The things I heard and saw were a horror show. I don't want to paint with too broad of a brush, but I can't imagine things going swimmingly for the Sam kid...no matter how much the media keeps putting on the heat. 

Darrell1
Darrell1

Man, you guys are a bunch of Wussies. So just because you're uncomfortable with the wrong person catching a peek at your little manhood, you think that's enough reason for a gay person to be deprived of their livelihood. This is ridiculous, and I would suggest if you don't want people looking at you, don't play football or strip naked in a gym. It's your problem, not the gay person's.


FakeHero
FakeHero

They are ALL Lying, for fear of losing their jobs. A heterosexual feels uncomfortable in the showers or locker room with homosexual present just as a woman would feel uncomfortable with a man walking around and watching them when they were in the showers or locker room.


A homosexual's lifestyle is a personal (and I am sure many wish private) choice; No one should be force to work in an environment that makes them feel exploited or uncomfortable. This needs to apply to heterosexuals and homosexuals the like.


AND IF I READ ANYONE COMPARING THE PLIGHT OF HOMOSEXUALS  TO THAT OF PEOPLE OF COLOR   OVERCOMING SLAVERY AND RACISM TO A CERTAIN EXTENT I AM GOING TO SCREAM... PEOPLE OF COLOR NEVER HAD THE OPTION OF SIMPLY KEEP THEIR PRIVATE LIVES PRIVATE AND BEING TREATED EQUALLY... and they never will

OfficerMarcusDuvall
OfficerMarcusDuvall

We have a one way street with the gay issue. We are to accept gays as natural but a heterosexuals natural reaction to not be naked around them is not to be tolerated. 


What happened to our great tolerance?? Those of you accusing such people of homophobia are media sheep and ignorant fools. A feeling is not always a voluntary response.  Just as you little sheep love to preach that homosexuality is involuntary so is heterosexuality. And heterosexuals may not feel comfortable being undressed around gays. 

And if they don't, its your big chance to be progressive and tolerate their feelings. Even if you don't like it. I mean, isn't that what you expect from straights, to tolerate gays even if they disapprove?? 

SportFanX
SportFanX

Any way in which SI can let me opt out of all of the gay athlete coverage, similar to the way others can opt out of the Swimsuit Issue?  The gay topic is really boring, and I just do not care.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

What if Sam impresses at the Combine but doesn't get drafted? What would that tell you? These players are saying all the right things, but face facts. Behind closed doors, most of them wouldn't be comfortable. At the same time, what makes some of these players think they're not already playing with a gay teammate or two? I think a lot of players would say they are already playing with gay teammates who haven't publicly come out of the closet, but some within certain teams already know. 


In basketball, Charles Barkley made some valid points when Jason Collins came out that in his playing days he was already playing with teammates he kinda knew were gay or suspected were gay. In summary, I'll bet there are a lot of current players in the major sports who are gay and their teammates have no clue. It's a tangled web that is weaved. 

Atrain81
Atrain81

Don't have a source for this but I remembered hearing about a similar survey done in the 30's or 40's of major league baseball players asking them if they thought a talented enough "Negro" (black person) should be allowed to play in the majors (in the years before Jackie Robinson).  About 75% said they thought the black player should be allowed to play in the majors.

MrArlington
MrArlington

I find the numbers unlikely to be accurate. NFL players as a whole are not the most cultured.

Fifilo
Fifilo

Newsflash: 100% of NFL players already have gay team mates.

Now back to the Andy Griffith Show.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

The sample size seems a little low (approx. 3%).   A lot of you are complaining about that and the randomness of the survey.  In most cases when ESPN says on-air that they have conducted a survey they preface that by saying  "by no means is this a scientific procedure by ESPN".  I'm not sure if they did in this instance, but I take most of what they claim as a result as opinion, not fact.  But for other sports "news" outlets to then quote that result as fact is idiotic and just plain lazy. 

RS1022
RS1022

I think Sam's announcement will not impact his draft status and maybe even help it. I think there are owners and GMs who would revel at the opportunity to historically be seen as a Branch Rickey figure. Obviously, the political environment is much different now, as Sam will receive much more media and societal support than the great Jackie Robinson ever did. Still it's a very brave thing he did and I'm rooting for him to succeed...

And no I'm not what anyone would consider to be a liberal.

David138
David138

Call me a homophobe  if you want but I don't want to be in a shower room with a guy who might be checking out my rod. 

const56
const56

Wait, 51 NFL players responded in a poll and ESPN is running with this as actual news? Seriously? 


I point this out not caring what Sam's persuasion is, it's so meaningless and overblown as a topic to begin with. I am having issues with ESPN looking to cash in on this by proclaiming 86% of the NFL is fine with this when they only survey 51 people. This poll has no credibility. 


And what's with SI repeating it as news. Not just SI, but all the other news outlets out there. What a crock.

LuscioustheCat
LuscioustheCat

@CjMacintosh  They don't mention that people are straight because they have gotten used to the fact that some people are straight. When nobody is bothered anymore by learning someone is gay then you will not hear about it anymore. This isn't just a sports problem, it's a human condition. Faster you get used to it, the faster the topic goes away.

CjMacintosh
CjMacintosh

Then you have no problem with me as a straight man showering with women as long as their team mates !

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@LuscioustheCat  

Ten percent has been disproven.  That's just  homosexual propaganda.  The number is closer to 2-3%.

As for you belittling people's sensibilities, shame, shame, shame.

If I'm showering with a bunch of guys and one of them has come out and said that he is aroused by other men, I find that objectionable.

You left-wing pseudo-intellectuals love to talk about the importance of "feelings" -- as long as YOU approve of those feelings.  Earth to social-engineering scolds:  you have no right to tell the rest of us how to feel. 

matthewjthibeault
matthewjthibeault

@Darrell1  If gay people want to play in the NFL they should have to shower in a separate area. Its like some gay player saying he wants to shower with the cheerleaders because the men intimidate him and the women don't arouse him.

BillieBob
BillieBob

@FakeHero  

Racism and homophobia are the exact same thing.

Somehow, you seem to think that if blacks could "hide" their color, then everything would be just fine. God forbid non-blacks would have to get over thier prejudice. 

And guess what -- at least blacks don't face rejection by their own families. Blacks aren't hanging themselves because they're black.

Racism and slavery were and are terrible things. So was life for Mathew Shepard when he found himself tied to a fence post and beaten to death. So were things for thousands of gays in medieval Europe who were burned on stacks of wood _-ever wonder where the term "f****t" came from?

So stop acting like gays have some "second class" complaint not worthy of your time or trouble.


BTW, INSECURE heterosexuals feel uncomfortable showeriung with gays. That's what "insecure" means. I'm hetero and I could care less.

BillieBob
BillieBob

@OfficerMarcusDuvall  

Yeah. Kind of like whites having to accept interracial marriage even though most whites didn't approve and thought is was "unnatrual". Guess what? Most of them learned to get over it.

So I assume that you're the first guy to defend a white bigot who says blacks are inferior human beings who don't deserve the same opportunities as whites. 

Oh, you don't? Well, I guess you're just "intolerant" of their intolerance. What happened to your great tolerance?

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@OfficerMarcusDuvall  

Well said!  Bravo!

"Feelings" are the most important thing in the world...unless the "tolerance" scolds don't like your feelings.

mystafugee
mystafugee

@Shane Mac  So what do you want? 90%?  You think those political polls survey nearly every voter?

GregJackson
GregJackson

@David138  Nobody is interested in checking out your rod.  Not even your girlfriend.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

@David138 - I would call you an idiot. I am confident that no one is checking out your "rod," male or female. Nothing is a bigger turn-off than a moron.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@David138  You are a homophobe.  Chances are that at some time in your life (school, athletics, etc...) you have already showered with a gay man just didn't know it.  That he didn't approach you as such probably means he wasn't too impressed with your "rod".

gjdj
gjdj

@const56  As long as they chose the 51 players randomly, it should be good enough.  Plus or minus 10% 19 times out of 20.  So somewhere in the 76 to 96 percent range.

jbc123
jbc123

@const56   56, The headline caught my eye, and I thought the number seemed high, until I read the story. The League has 1,700 players and they poll 51?  This poll is useless and you have to wonder if there is a hidden agenda.

LuscioustheCat
LuscioustheCat

@MidwestGolfFan @LuscioustheCat  So okay if we accept your statement that there are two percent of every locker room that are gay. do you feel less threatened showering in front of 2% gay than you do ten percent? your argument is still flawed all you did was lower the percentage slightly but not lower the point.


FYI, I am not liberal I am at best a moderate. does it make you feel better to call me a liberal? by all means call me that while you shower with gay men in hiding.

TexanBorn
TexanBorn

@MidwestGolfFan @LuscioustheCat 

The very fact that you still use the word "homosexual" exposes exactly who and what you are. Trust me--I'm a gay man who showers 4-5 times a week in a locker room, with an entire room of guys. I don't look, because I don't care. I don't find showering arousing...Apparently you do. I shower to get myself clean, and get myself to work not stinking. I have no interest in you or anybody else in a locker room--This self professed "left-wing pseudo intellectual" believes it clear that you think entirely too high of yourself.

BillieBob
BillieBob

@MidwestGolfFan @LuscioustheCat  

Get over yourself. 


Apparently you think you're such a creamy stud that any gay guy would have a woody the moment he walked in the room. That ain't how it works, Skippie. Would you get a chubby over any woman in a shower? 


Proof? How many guys have you ever seen staring at you in the shower with a hard-on? My guess is zero. And unless you are afraid to shower in front of any men, some of those HAVE been gay.


Homophobes are such cowards.

wuba96
wuba96

@matthewjthibeault @Darrell1yeah except these are grown men. Even the gay ones believe or not. grown men that are in the NFL. no other man intimidates them. you homophobe.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@mystafugee @Shane Mac 

They're probably a heck of a lot more rigorous.

A sample size of 51 is tiny.  The margin of error -- I notice they don't talk about THAT -- is probably out of sight.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

@Shane Mac @David138  If he ("gay man") was "impressed" he would've "approach(ed)?"  So, if one is 'Pee Wee Sherman' he's safe, but if 'Big John Holmesian,' he's in store for an introduction?  Maybe not the message Sam wants out here, SM.    

jbc123
jbc123

@gjdj @const56  Since there is no mention of methodology, I have no reason to think it was a random sample. If it was (random) I bet it would have been mentioned. People who do real polls are usually very clear as to their methods, it's the only way they have any credence. This smells fishy.

desizombi
desizombi

@jbc123 @const56  its called statistics. when PPP or washington post takes a survey, they dont ask every single person in the country. they sample and and aggregate the results. Pretty straight forward.

jbc123
jbc123

@desizombi @jbc123 @const56  It's only straightforward if you choose the people at random. I could take a poll on any subject in the world, at the place that I work (750 people) and if I got to choose who was in the 'poll' I could get the results I wanted every time.