ESPN The Magazine published a survey that claims half of all college football players believe they have at least one gay teammate. ESPN asked 85 football players a variety of questions ranging from what teams would have winning seasons to whether or not players should be paid.
ESPN asked the question, “Do you have any gay teammates?” The answer was: Almost half of those surveyed (49.4%, to be exact) said yes, they believe they have at least one gay teammate. In the Pac-10, 70% of those surveyed said yes.
Unfortunately the poll is unscientific, so it’s difficult to gauge the vailidity of the responses. Additionally, Outsports.com points out other flaws:
What the poll question does not answer, though, is whether those surveyed personally know a gay teammate or whether there are players on their team they suspect are gay. It also does not answer whether these respondents perceive having a gay teammate as a positive or negative thing.
The media should take this as a stepping off point and start delving into the subject more deeply. Is there so much homophobia in the locker room that players are afraid to have conversations about their true sexual orientation? Are players comfortable confiding in their teammates but don’t want to be publicly out?
GLAAD will continue to urge the media to shine a spotlight on LGBT athletes and on homophobia in sports.