A survey of US football players has found that half of them know at least one gay teammate.

The anonymous research, by ESPN magazine, asked 85 college football players if they had a gay athlete on their team.

While 49.4 per cent of all those surveyed said yes, this figure rose to 70 per cent among Pac-10 colleges, such as UCLA, Stanford and Oregon.

Ryan Hockensmith, a writer for ESPN who worked on the survey, told Advocate.com he thought players were more accepting than expected.

“A lot of these guys are 18 to 22 years old, and there’s a perception that these guys just go play football, and at the end of it they really are wise about the world,” he said. “It was really refreshing.”