Poll: Two thirds of NFL fans think Michael Sam’s sexuality does not matter

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Many have speculated on the possible effect of NFL hopeful Michael Sam coming out as gay earlier this year, but two thirds of fans now think it will have no effect on his career.

The University of Missouri defensive linesman came out as gay in February, saying that he wanted to be open and honest about who he was.

A Marist Poll released on Monday found that 65% of American football fans across the US thought his coming out would have no effect on whether or not he is drafted.

One in four people said the NFL teams would be less likely to pick him, and just 6% said they thought he would be more likely to be selected because of coming out as gay. 3% said they were unsure.

Men were more likely to think Sam’s coming out would have a negative impact with 29% of men compared to 20% of women.

“These results indicate that many football fans view professional football as a sport which is increasingly accepting of openly gay athletes,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

”They believe that Michael Sam’s abilities, not his orientation, will determine his professional future.”

The poll was conducted by the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.