A poll by US sports broadcaster ESPN claims 86% of NFL players surveyed would accept having an openly gay teammate – and that 76% would be comfortable showering around them.

The poll was conducted following NFL hopeful Michael Sam’s decision to come out as gay this month.

ESPN surveyed 51 players (nearly the equivalent of an NFL roster) and asked four true-false questions.

The results showed 44 players (86%) indicated that a teammate’s sexual orientation did not matter to them, and 39 (76%) indicated they would be comfortable showering around a gay teammate.

However, 32 players (just under 63%) said they had teammates or coaches who had used homophobic slurs last season.

Meanwhile, only 25 (49%) of the players surveyed indicated that an openly gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room; 21 (41%) said he would not be comfortable, while another five (10%) did not answer the question.

Michael Sam could become the US National Football League’s first openly gay player – if selected for the NFL draft.

He came out in an interview with ESPN on 9 February.

On Sunday, President Obama praised the 24-year-old and commended his attitude.

First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted last week to say she was “proud” of Sam’s achievements both on and off the field.