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Poll of players suggests most are OK with a gay teammate

michaelsam AP

A new poll of NFL players suggests that most would have no problem sharing a locker room with Michael Sam or any other gay player.

The poll, conducted by ESPN, asked 51 NFL players if a player’s sexual orientation matters. Only seven of them, or 14 percent, said yes, while 44 of them, or 86 percent, said no.

One participant in the poll, described as a starting wide receiver, said openness would is the key to Sam being treated well in an NFL locker room.

“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,” the player said. “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.”

That points to one problem the NFL still has: The majority of players also said that they had teammates and coaches who used homophobic slurs in the past season. Which means that while most players would be comfortable with a gay teammate, it doesn’t necessarily follow that gay players would be made to feel welcomed.

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56 Responses to “Poll of players suggests most are OK with a gay teammate”
  1. lilpuppy says: Feb 17, 2014 10:45 AM

    too bad if they aren’t , it’s 2014 not 1814 … if they don’t like it let them go out and get another job and see how far their caveman thinking gets them

  2. wcucarter says: Feb 17, 2014 10:47 AM

    The only people that are making a big deal about this are the media. They’ll ruin Sam’s career just like they did with Tebow. Teams may be interested in guy, but may decide they don’t want to deal with the media headache and distraction that comes along with him, and that is no fault of his own.

    I haven’t heard one person come out and bash the guy. I’ve only heard supportive things. However, most of the stories are about how he’ll have a hard time fitting in and possible bigotry. If the guy can play football, no on cares what he does in between the sheets.

    Of course, if he’s drafted and turns out to be a crummy player, and teams have to deal with the media circus that is sure to follow him, his team will be demonized. You know, because the only possible reason this guy could be cut is because he’s gay. (sarcasm)

  3. basballguy says: Feb 17, 2014 10:48 AM

    duh, the only people not ok with it are employed by the media

  4. ez4u2sa says: Feb 17, 2014 10:52 AM

    I would certainly hope so. This speaks to the caliber of NFL player we’d like to see and not some Incognito/Suh type moron.

  5. baltimoresnativeson says: Feb 17, 2014 10:54 AM

    To be totally honest I have gay buddies I’m cool with, but I would feel uncomfortable showering with them.

    So I’m not going to criticize a player for being uncomfortable with a gay teammate.

  6. SmashMouthFootball says: Feb 17, 2014 10:55 AM

    Can’t wait until this story is over. Let the man start a career and play football. Let the locker room sort itself out.

  7. touchdownroddywhite says: Feb 17, 2014 10:55 AM

    Translation: “Is he gonna get pissed if we throw gay jokes at him the way we throw fat jokes at linemen?”

  8. petehemlock says: Feb 17, 2014 10:57 AM

    Instead of asking they should say get ready to deal with it.

  9. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 17, 2014 10:57 AM

    The poll isn’t very sophisticated and worded poorly. What does “it matters to you” even represent? It could be interpreted in multiple different ways and we don’t know what the respondents mean specifically with how they came out about to a yes or no on that question. I think the truthful answer is a lot more than 7 based on this sample size but the way they ask the question it is easy for the respondent to find a way to sell a “no” to themselves on that question. I think how these players think about the issue is not being brought out with that phrasing of the question. It may not matter a lot, or the players may think it won’t be a distraction, but nevertheless I think the impact of it actually mattering is going to apply to 100% of the people. If nobody ever talked about this and it never came up at all ever in any conversation, then it wouldn’t matter. But we know that’s not going to be the case, so it has to matter to some extent. For only 7 to say it would matter at all is totally unbelievable. But that’s because the question is phrased where it sounds inflammatory to say yes because you don’t think it significantly matters.

    The next questions lumps teammates AND coaches together. So if you only heard one thing then you can’t say BOTH the coaches and teammates said those things. That’s worthless to know, because we should want to know about ANY person that does it, and then is that person a coach or a teammate? You could hear 100 slurs from teammates or just coaches and still answer “no” to that question. Another ambiguous wasted question that doesn’t give clear data and we don’t know how that one is being interpreted either.

  10. elliottcovert says: Feb 17, 2014 11:02 AM

    But how do they feel about Matthew Stafford wearing his hat backwards?

  11. sdnative1904 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:03 AM

    What ever team drafts him, will have to shut off the media come training camp/pre season.

  12. ravanator says: Feb 17, 2014 11:07 AM

    Ray “God” Lewis is not okay with a gay teammate. Michael Sam will be drafted by the R-Words as their first pick. I have spoken.

    #ravensdynasty
    #joemontanaflacco

  13. 16to87 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:08 AM

    Most players OK with it? duhhh what else are they going to say in a PC world

  14. duece5 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:11 AM

    We live in the pc world…….most are fearful of being labeled a “bigot” unless they fully conform to the pc/liberal agenda.

    I believe we are stronger when BOTH sides of the issue are raised with respect and understanding.

    Respect one’s religious beliefs, even if they are not your belief……

  15. handsofsteelhartofstone says: Feb 17, 2014 11:12 AM

    please ignore the idiot steeler fan. he makes us all look bad. just keep ur mouth shut guy, before a true steeler fan does it 4 u

  16. paulz624 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:13 AM

    51 players? last I checked their was close to 1,700 players in the NFL, let them be able to answer the question anonymously and I’ll bet the PC world would be shocked to see how many guys are not comfortable with this.

  17. i10east says: Feb 17, 2014 11:13 AM

    I guess that society is making strides for progress, or whatever blah blah blah…

  18. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain says: Feb 17, 2014 11:16 AM

    Poll of players suggests most players tell you what you want to hear when polled.

  19. louhudson23 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:18 AM

    They could say they are scared to death that they themselves are gay, so they blame the entire issue of gays(and the anti- gay laws,restrictions and rights limitations and violence against gay kids and teen gay suicide ” on the media” and they could blame the fact they are called stupid and ignorant when they say stupid and ignorant things on the PC world..and then perhaps attempt to hide behind a misinterpreted paragraph in a religious manifesto that spouts all sorts of prohibitions,none of which they follow except for the nonsense about gay people………fear does strange things to people…..

  20. thepftpoet says: Feb 17, 2014 11:22 AM

    Being a Minnesota Vikings fan is something you’re born into.

    Sort of like being an heir for a King of a great country.

    Except Viking fans are way more intelligent, classy and good looking.

  21. nyyjetsknicks says: Feb 17, 2014 11:25 AM

    duece5 says:
    Feb 17, 2014 11:11 AM
    We live in the pc world…….most are fearful of being labeled a “bigot” unless they fully conform to the pc/liberal agenda.

    I believe we are stronger when BOTH sides of the issue are raised with respect and understanding.

    Respect one’s religious beliefs, even if they are not your belief……

    ____________________

    Religious beliefs should not be respected. It’s 2014, enough with the invisible man in the sky. Religion does nothing but hold us back from advancing as a society.

  22. shlort says: Feb 17, 2014 11:25 AM

    Cherry picking for a satisfactory result is not the correct way to conduct a poll.

    How about a poll where players get to secretly vote on such a question?

    Anyway, this whole debate has been beat to death over the past couple weeks. People are so sick of hearing about it, they are willing to just give up and let whatever happens, happen. That is how the liberalized society will be realized. Brow beat everyone until they surrender and give in to th liberal ideology. Won’t change the fact that there will be problems for openly gay players in the NFL.

    The NFL is setting itse;f into a downward spiral that it will not be able to recover from.

  23. bastardfromhell says: Feb 17, 2014 11:25 AM

    It’s the political correct answer so long as he is not in their locker room.

  24. tjacks7 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:35 AM

    51 players? That’s quite the sample size. Thanks for taking the time to poll less than 3% of the league, ESPN.

  25. kcflake says: Feb 17, 2014 11:36 AM

    The Real question is, Will PFT ever let this story die? I just hope my Chiefs do not draft Michael Sam.

  26. dlbpatsfan says: Feb 17, 2014 11:36 AM

    Watch how the Patriots draft this guy.

  27. gborange says: Feb 17, 2014 11:42 AM

    Sam will have to get used to offensive talk or his teammates will alienate him to the point of misery. Straight guys won’t have a problem with a gay teammate, but the gay teammate will have a problem with his teammates telling him to wait and shower when everyone else is done.

  28. btellington says: Feb 17, 2014 11:50 AM

    Polls would probably also suggest that most NFL players would like it if the media was more concerned with how they’re coming together as a team than a player’s sexuality. It’s not like Sam is the first, there have been others. It’s just that he’s the first who was willing to announce it publicly.

    And now, whoever drafts him will have to answer questions about it, if he doesn’t start there will be people who say it’s because he’s gay. If he does start there will be people who say it’s because he’s gay. God help the GM who cuts him, because the first question he will be asked is, “Is it because he’s gay?”.

    He’s not the first gay player, but he’s the first one who’s allowed the politics to attach themselves to him. I would love his skill set on my team, but wouldn’t want the baggage that people like PFT will make sure comes with him. And I bet a lot of GMs feel the same way.

  29. jonanthans says: Feb 17, 2014 11:59 AM

    The REAL REAL story is, who were the players that weren’t ok with it? Post THAT info and we’d have something to actually talk about!!!

  30. FinFan68 says: Feb 17, 2014 12:05 PM

    The poll was a small sample size and vague. Most people will take the politically correct side when asked publicly. That may or may not be How they truly feel. I’m sure most would say it doesn’t matter but how many would be cool with the showers or if he were to be their roommate? If an anonymous poll shows that to be favorable then you have something worthy of reporting.

  31. smackingfools says: Feb 17, 2014 12:17 PM

    Well.. Don’t you have to say that nowadays? If not, you get attacked by media.

  32. gochargersgo says: Feb 17, 2014 12:27 PM

    Any chance we can see Incognitos response? No?? Just checking.

  33. eaglesnoles05 says: Feb 17, 2014 12:37 PM

    The team that drafts him will be a media circus, so teams will pass on him, which will hurt his stock, and make the media attack the teams for passing on him.

    “Sam had 5 more tackles than the player you drafted, why the other player?”…

    This is self preserving media goldmine

  34. donewithfootball says: Feb 17, 2014 12:45 PM

    it has been here all the time. Who has been covering it up. The Media

  35. rubenxx7 says: Feb 17, 2014 12:45 PM

    Their lying if they say they dont have a problem with it. They will have to accept it doesnt mean they have a problem with it.

  36. 1historian says: Feb 17, 2014 1:00 PM

    The media will ride this pony to death and past it.

    WARNING – UN – PC REMARKS FOLLOW

    Could that have anything to do with Sam making the announcement? Naaaah

    How many out there believe that if Sam isn’t drafted by the end of the 5th round Goodell will pick up the phone and start calling teams to pressure one of them to draft Sam?

    TRICK QUESTION – How many out there actually care about Sam’s sexual preferences?

  37. angrytwitterguy says: Feb 17, 2014 1:06 PM

    The same people upset about this are the same types that thought allowing blacks to play with whites was a bad idea.

    Who cares what cavemen think?

  38. crubenst says: Feb 17, 2014 1:20 PM

    The key to Sam’s success won’t be how his teammates handle him but how HE handles his teammates. Much like Jackie Robinson, he’ll be subjected to some innappropriate things and even some teammates who like and accept him but might say something insensitive. If he can brush it all off and handle it with class and let his play do his talking he’ll be fine.

  39. daysend564 says: Feb 17, 2014 1:24 PM

    The interview went something like this….
    Reporter: Mind if we ask you a few questions?
    Player: Sure
    Reporter: How do you feel about ___, knowing that if you say something negative you’ll be fined.
    Player: I think its a great idea

  40. shaggytoodle says: Feb 17, 2014 1:29 PM

    The only time players or coaches care about what you do off the field, is when its conduct detrimental to the team.

    Keep your personal life personal.

  41. iggles07 says: Feb 17, 2014 1:30 PM

    I’ll bet the players would overwhelmingly prefer an openly gay teammate to having Jonathan Martin on their team.

  42. granadafan says: Feb 17, 2014 1:32 PM

    How many people in the 50s and 60s felt uncomfortable with a black teammate? This is the same thing in discrimination. Yes, the media is making too big a deal about Michael Sam, however, it’s important to show tolerance in defiance of conservative bigots who are passing anti gay laws (Russia, Iran, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, etc).

  43. getlow81 says: Feb 17, 2014 1:54 PM

    A WHOPPING 51 players were interviewed….that’s about 3% of players in the league (not even including free agents), and less than one full team roster. Hard to judge much of anything from that.

  44. wtfchiefs says: Feb 17, 2014 2:04 PM

    Many NFL players took the poll. They took it, some even enjoyed it.

  45. mackcarrington says: Feb 17, 2014 2:05 PM

    I don’t know. I mean if the % of players mirrors the % of posters on this site, there are still going to be a lot of players worried about being “checked out” in the shower or locker room. What goes unmentioned is that straight men get “checked out” by gay men standing in a Starbucks line.

  46. nonetruerthanblue says: Feb 17, 2014 2:42 PM

    51 players only?

  47. thestatsishere says: Feb 17, 2014 2:51 PM

    86% is a very high number. But I remember from my psychology classes that polls and statistics can be miscued.

    All of us here have usernames for our postings. Let’s be absolutely frank. We can say negative feelings if we choose to and not be harassed for it by LGBT sympathizers.

    But, if people knew who we were, where we worked, and what we looked like, would we really be that open? Some of us might, but I bet a lot wouldn’t be that open. I think some of that 86% may just be making sure that they stay out of it.

    I’m speculating, but it’s worth mentioning.

  48. lanman11 says: Feb 17, 2014 3:35 PM

    And what was the alternative for these guys? To get mauled in the media and censored by the PC Police in their marketing department, and of course, the ever popular attempts to deprive them of a way or earning a living because they don’t agree with the left leaning media and the militant gay agenda? Only a few expressed their feelings because they either have serious convictions about it or they did not think this through. At this stage, it has gotten so malicious, that you will never hear the majority of players speak the truth from their heart on this issue. You (the media) have sufficiently intimidated them to the point that they will tow the line set by the media. Congratulations on successfully distorting the constitution.

  49. bonniebengal says: Feb 17, 2014 3:42 PM

    I have never thought there would be a real problem with having a gay teammate in this century. I think this controversy was created by the media.

  50. stickyicky97 says: Feb 17, 2014 4:20 PM

    Who cares if someone is gay or straight. It shouldn’t even be discussed or made known. Go to work, do your job, and keep your personal life and beliefs private. However, if you hear something offensive or if something bothers you, address the situation and move on. I’m tired of political correctness in this world. I think it’s stupid that Sam felt he had to come out and tell everyone he’s gay? Why? What purpose does it serve, other than his personal satisfaction and advancement? Sam isn’t the first gay NFL player. In fact, I’ve heard many ex players talk about knowing another player was gay, but it was their business and they kept their personal life to themselves. However, look at the way Tebow was treated and mocked for his Christian faith……for some reason that’s accepted. I didn’t see the NFL tweeting congrats to Tebow for being Christian. This world is spiraling out of control, but hey, at least we have an openly gay player now. Good job buddy!

  51. natefalkirk says: Feb 17, 2014 4:35 PM

    Agree with most sentiments here…media makes an issue out of it far more than any player will.

    Of the 3 guys who’ve dominated the news lately, Incognito, Sam and Martin, I think it is Martin who will have the hardest time going forward.

    After all the initial furor dies down, Sam’s story will fade, especially if he plays well. The NFL is at its basic a bottom-line, can-you-deliver league. If Sam play isn’t in question, this story moves to the back burner. (See Manti Teo…who’s even talking about all that now?) Yes, some players won’t like him, but I think they’ll generally be quiet. ($$$ at stake) Sam will hear a lot more from boozed up fans. As for Incognito, he’ll find a place to play. There are players who’ve done far worse playing in the league. We can moralize about his bullying, and most players would probably agree he went too far, but the fact is many of them see this as Martin’s weakness more than anything else. The league preys on the weak and meek.

    Incognito is a bully, Sam faces a media-fanned circus over his orientation, but Martin is seen across the league as weak, and possibly a snitch. He broke the “code of the locker room” thing. That may be harder for teammates to accept than the other issues.

  52. nrae73 says: Feb 17, 2014 4:47 PM

    Lets have a new poll!

    Let’s try education and income for PFT readers! Take the under on both, no matter what the line is…

    Judging by the comments, 85% of you saw their best years in HS, earn 35k a year and continue judge others as though going to church every Sunday (which u don’t actually do) gave you the right to determine morality for the rest of us non-delusional people.

    “Militant gay agenda”…..If you really believe this exists, you are simply not a rational person. Seriously, has a minority rights struggle ever been more non-violent and non-“militant”? As a straight person, I don’t understand how another straight person could possibly feel threatened by a gay person. That has WAY more to do with you than anything.

    That is all…

  53. jonanthans says: Feb 17, 2014 6:24 PM

    Any of these guys who say they have no issue with his choice, also needs to refrain from thanking God in their speeches. Because it goes directly against the Christian belief. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact

  54. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Feb 17, 2014 6:43 PM

    What’s the big discovery?

    Everyday Americans of different race, religion and different backgrounds work together side by side to accomplish things. We focus on the mission and that’s what unites us. The differences are put aside on a daily basis.

    No big deal.

  55. nrae73 says: Feb 17, 2014 9:24 PM

    Everyone should be free to live however they chose, instead of obsessively trying to force others to live within your own warped comfort zones.

    Your religious freedom is not being trampled on because it’s finally becoming not acceptable to discriminate against a minority in the workplace based on your own personal beliefs. Just because your religion preaches to hate certain people does not make it ok to institutionalize it in society (as it has been.) You still get to have whatever beliefs you want. No one is forcing you to have Micheal Sam over for Thanksgiving, so calm down.

    This whole thing is utterly juvenile. Besides, hasn’t it dawned on any of you that Jesus hung out with all dudes? How naive are you about this stuff?

  56. eugenesaxe1 says: Feb 17, 2014 11:38 PM

    I wonder if the ones who aren’t OK with it realize they have/had gay teammates? Chances are very high that they have.

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