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Disturbing: Poll finds that 14% of players WOULDN’T be OK with openly gay teammate

So ESPN conducted a anonymous survey that found that most NFL players are cool with the idea of having a gay teammate. On the surface, that's good to hear. But the different between most and all is significant, and I think it's something we often overlook. 

The poll, based on a sample size of 51, found that 86 percent of current players would accept a gay teammate. But if that means that 14 percent wouldn't, we have a major problem.

In fact, I'd argue that the real headline is the fact that, per the poll, seven of 51 players think sexual orientation matters among teammates, 12 wouldn't shower around a gay teammate and 21 believe that an openly gay teammate would NOT feel comfortable in an NFL locker room.

Michael Sam's rookie season could be tulmultuous if even one teammate has an issue that at any point comes to the surface. In this case, we're talking about anywhere between five and 10 players having a problem, maybe more. 

I frankly expected the numbers to be much more in favor of tolerance and acceptability. That almost a quarter of the players polled by ESPN admitted they wouldn't feel comfortable showering in a teammate like Sam's presence is an indication that, indeed, the road ahead could be rocky. 

It's sad to say in 2014, but if these initial survey results are any indication, the NFL may not in fact be "ready" for its first openly gay player. 

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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