Turnkey Sports and Entertainment is an executive search firm for senior-level professional and college sports executives, and on its website each month asks sports industry leaders various questions. In the wake of Jason Collins coming out, the site asked executives about fan attitudes to gays in sports. The result: 90% think fans would be indifferent or root more for a team with an openly gay player.
Which of the following statements do you believe most accurately represents fan attitudes regarding gay athletes in team pro sports?
- Fans are indifferent to whether or not a team has an openly gay athlete – 85%
- Fans are more apt to support a team with an openly gay athlete – 5%
- Fans are less apt to support a team with an openly gay athlete – 5%
- Not sure / No response - 5%
I sense these executives are accurate and that only an extremely small minority of fans would be so upset by a team having an openly gay athlete that they would stop supporting that team. I find it hard to believe, for example, that a Yankees, Cowboys, Lakers or Red Wings fan would suddenly stop rooting for that team if one of its players were openly gay. They would cheer the guy if he was great and boo him if he sucked, just like they would any athlete.
Take the same poll and tell us what you think.