UK Study Finds 100% Of Footballers Surveyed Would Accept An Openly Gay Teammate

NCL_CREW_1_05Now is a great time to be a gay footballer, apparently.

After basketball star Jason Collinscoming out earlier this year, it seemed as if American professional football players were among the most accepting, and according to a new study by Dr. Steven Roberts and Professor Eric Anderson in the UK, that sentiment doesn’t just apply to America.

In the study, published late last month, the two researchers claim there is a “general shift in attitudes” toward gay footballers, and that of 22 Premier League academy footballers aged 16-18 interviewed, every last one said they would openly accept a teammate coming out.

All participants in the study identified themselves as heterosexual and from lower to upper working class backgrounds. “These men showed no overt animosity toward gay men,” said Dr. Roberts of the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. “In fact, they were more than tolerant and showed an inclusive attitude toward the hypothetical situation of having a gay teammate, best friend or roommate reveal their sexuality.”

That’s great news! In fact, it shows a “marked shift in perception” from a study previously conducted by Professor Eric Anderson in 2002, which showed gay male athletes were tolerated by teammates “as long as they played the sport well.”

Research or not, it all appears to come back to the locker room. It was a hot-button issue in America after a rumored mass NFL outing, and Anderson concludes that “attitudes in the locker room among young British players would lay the foundation for a player to be able to come out.”

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  • etseq

    This is an Eric Anderson study, the infamous american sports sociologist that works out of the uk. I say infamous because he pumps out these pop psychology studies like once a month and them markets them like crazy to the media. He publishes in low quality journals and does alot of qualitative narrative interview studies, which basically means he selects a small number of subjects and makes no attempt at a representative sample size. He then asks questions that are usually primed to get the answer he wants and then draws sweeping conclusions from crap data.

    This is the same guy that has said a)40% of football players have had gay sex (the sample was like 30 people and they were all male cheerleaders who had previously played high school football), b) had a weird qualitative study in the “journal of bisexuality” that claimed basically that everyone is bisexual – he did this by redefining bisexual to include non-sexual close personal friendships between men!, c) monogamy is impossible for men based on a small sample size of popular college football players who had lots of female sexual partners d) homophobia had basically disappeared in british high schools based on studies at two exclusive boarding schools in the uk, etc.

    The weird thing is he has like two former students who did their phds with him and they all pump out these same studies and cite each other. So, it makes his impact scores look artificially high.

    Anywho, more power to him but he gives social science a bad name, even if its for a good cause.

  • EdWoody

    As interesting as this article is, I think he is missing the point regarding gay footballers. It does not surprise me that younger people are more accepting of gay people in 2013,generally speaking. I put this down to a shift in culture and education for the most part (excluding certain countries of course). However, if we take the English Premier league (EPL); it has long been rumoured that there are currently seven or eight gay players in the EPL. I am certain the other players in the dressing room know who they are, the agents, and managers also know who they are. The issue is the crowds who fill the terraces each week. There is massive homophobia amongst football fans, and no player wants to face abuse from 30,000 people week in, week out. If you go to any match in this country, you regularly hear abusive names shouted out to players, regardless of their sexuality. A gay insult is just the go to place for these people. I cant begin to imagine what this would be like if a high profile player came out and actually was gay. It would be intolerable. These are the same people who throw bananas onto the pitch at black players. Some clubs like Brighton face abuse every week, just because of their location. There are also the sponsors to think about. What if the best player in the world happened to be gay? His sponsors would never permit him to come out. There is a lot of money on the line here, and with money comes power, so I don’t see it changing. The footballing powers that be are making strides to stop this kind of behaviour, through such things as the respect campaign, but more needs to be done. It’s great that a group of 16-18 years olds think it’s OK to be gay, but that doesn’t even start to address the issue of gays in football.

  • fagburn

    “Research” based on 22 interviews!

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