86% of NFL players fine with gay teammate

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In light of Michael Sam's publicly announcing that he is gay, ESPN asked players currently playing in the NFL to take part in an anonymous survey in which the subject of homosexuality was broached.

The survey consisted of 51 current players answering true-or-false questions.

And in response to the question 'A player's sexual orientation matters to you' - forty-five of the players involved responded false when asked if a teammate's sexual orientation mattered to them.

An 86% majority.

Sam's announcement has ushered in increased debate about whether the league is ready for an openly gay player - with some in the game having raised question marks as to whether an NFL locker room would be accepting of a homosexual football player.

But this result, whilst obviously only analysing a small sample of professional players, suggests that Sam, or any other openly gay player, would not be met by hostility. 

It does seem that homophobic language is present in the locker room however - as recently revealed in the Wells Report.

When asked the question 'I had teammates and coaches who used homophobic slurs this past season', a revealing 32 players responded true.

And 21 of the 51 respondents believe that an openly gay player would not feel comfortable in an NFL locker room.

In the wake of Sam's announcement it is encouraging that the majority of those who would ultimately be playing alongside him in professional football seem unconcerned with a player's sexuality. 

Sam was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year last season and is likely to be taken in the NFL Draft come May.

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