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Moment #29: Majority of pro athletes say they would welcome a gay teammate

Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.

Sports, 2006: Sports Illustrated polled players in the four major North American team and asked if they would welcome an openly gay teammates. In all four sports, a majority said yes.

The highest percentage of support was in the NHL, at 80%, followed by Major League Baseball at 61%, the NBA at 59% and the NFL at 57%.

These results got a fair amount of attention because they flew in the face of the perception that openly gay pro athletes would not be welcome. Of course, one never knows if the athletes responded to appear more welcoming than they would be, but it was further evidence that being gay in sports might not be as dire as so many fear.

There have been similar surveys of fans who show support, and recent polls found that 42% of NHL players say they believe they have a gay teammate and half of college football players polled say they do.

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