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Gays In Sports: A Poll.

Have Americans become more accepting of the idea of gays in sports?

Take a look at this new survey conducted for NBC/USA Network, reported in Sports Illustrated:
Click for far more results.

John Ryan, in "Needing a poll to figure out a poll," argues:

Contrary to what many activists predict and progressive thinkers hope, when it comes to gay athletes, it isn't all over but the outing.

To be sure, the poll results are dramatic and even shocking, considering the nature of sports. It would be interesting to see the demographic breakdowns, including age, region, and whether the respondents even watch sports.

It would also be interesting to survey professional athletes themselves and/or the most diehard sports fans on the matter.

SI's L. Jon Wertheim explains:

...while homosexuals are thought to compose anywhere from 4% to 10% of the general population, among the 3,500 or so men active in the four major professional sports not a single homosexual is "out."


Compounding the dilemma of a gay athlete is the virtual certainty that the first active player to come out will do so at his financial peril. Those Red Sox fans clad in shirts reading JETER'S A HOMO and those NASCAR gearheads who frequent the website -- note the acronym -- Fans Against Gordon are also consumers. According to Schoen's poll 18% of Americans would be less likely to purchase footwear or apparel endorsed by a gay athlete. (Roughly 4% would be more likely.) "If I were a marketer looking at this data," says Schoen, "I would say, 'Boy, if I have an openly gay athlete, I may well have problems I don't need.'"

Adds Dean Bonham, a Denver-based sports-marketing expert, "The question isn't whether coming out would have a negative impact on an athlete as an endorser. The question is, how much of a negative impact."

Count us as skeptics on any kind of "coming out" wave in sports over the next few years. There is simply too much baggage that goes along with being gay in such a testosterone-driven industry.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 April 2005 11:46 AM


But what about professional female athletes?

Posted by: ken grandlund at April 13, 2005 12:06 PM

Testosterene is a male hormone... professional athletes male or female must recognize that because a fellow athlete may not share the same sexual preference doesn't allow them to dictate what their profession will be! ...If professional athletes can not tolerate it too bad.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at April 13, 2005 06:46 PM

Many times it is easy to get caught up in stereo-types and people have to distinguish others by their most outstanding characteristic. A person's abillitys or talents have nothing to do with their personal life. Therefore being gay can be easily overlooked if a gay person is more then just gay.

Posted by: Carly Franklin at April 13, 2005 09:21 PM