NFL Players Poll: 86 Percent OK With Having Gay Teammate

Michael SamThe NFL might be more accepting than originally thought.

Michael Sam would be welcomed by the majority of NFL players, according to a recent poll conducted by ESPN. ESPN Nation and ESPN The Magazine polled 51 players, and 46 said they would be OK with having a gay teammate. The players were asked four true or false questions anonymously.

NFL players would welcome a gay teammate, but only 25 of the 51 polled players said a gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room. That might be because 32 of the 51 players said they have a teammate or coach who used a gay slur during the 2013 season.

Just 12 of the 51 polled players said they wouldn’t shower with a gay teammate.

An anonymous starting wide receiver expressed concerns about the boundaries of joking with a gay teammate.

“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,” he 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.”

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