Survey shows increased support for gay sportspeople

PinkNews Staff Writer March 29, 2007
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Gay athletes have been a big topic of conversation for the past few months.

Most of the debate and talk was sparked by the recent announcement by John Amaechi the first former NBA basketball player to come out publicly as gay.

There was much aftermath to the announcement including some perceived homophobic behaviour, some words of hate and some major disapproval from other players and fans.

But for every person who disapproved there were many others who were very supportive or just simply didn’t care.

The political climate around the topic of gay athletes seems to be changing for the better and a national survey in the US conducted by Witeck-Combs Communications and Harris Interactive, seems to support that theory.

The study conducted this year stated that nearly three-quarters (72%) of American heterosexual adults questioned said they would not change their feelings toward a favourite male professional athlete if the athlete revealed he was gay.

The figure represents an increase from the 66% in 2002.

The study also showed that of those who would not change their feelings either way, they did not feel that others would feel the same.

When asked how they think “other sports fans would feel” toward an openly gay sports figure, 72% believe that other people would have less favourable opinions.

However, this statistic has also decreased from 2002, when nearly 80% revealed that they felt others would have a less favourable opinion.

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications was encouraged by the results.

“Not only does public acceptance of gay athletes seem to be on the rise, but there’s slight progress in feelings that others are becoming more accepting as well,” he said.

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