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Study: New York fans had most positive reaching to Michael Sam, Titans fans most negative

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Emory University study examined Twitter responses to the story in February. Missouri-area markets also ranked high for positivity.

Jim McIsaac

An Emory University study of Twitter reactions in the days after gay NFL prospect Michael Sam came out publiclysuggested fans in New York City were the most receptive to having a gay player on their favorite team, while fans of the Tennessee Titans might have the toughest time.

In order to do this, we collected all tweets mentioning "Michael Sam" in the 31 NFL markets for the past 2 days (2/9 morning - 2/11 morning). The tweets were sorted by market, and analyzed for positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. Looking at the ratio of positive, negative, and neutral tweets allowed us to compare Twitter sentiment for Michael Sam across NFL Markets.

This list shows you all 31 NFL markets in order of how positive the Twitter reaction of fans seemed to be:

1 New York
2 St Louis
3 Chicago
4 San Francisco
5 Boston
6 Kansas City
7 Washington
8 Philadelphia
9 Tampa
10 Seattle
11 Denver
12 Baltimore
13 Atlanta
14 Charlotte
15 Cincinnati
16 Buffalo
17 Detroit
18 Miami
19 Indianapolis
20 Houston
21 Dallas
22 Phoenix
23 New Orleans
24 Minneapolis
25 Cleveland
26 Jacksonville
27 San Diego
28 Pittsburgh
29 Green Bay
30 Oakland
31 Nashville

New York is the only market with two NFL teams; Plus, fans of all teams are well-represented by the city's population.

Manish Tripathi of Emory University said at the Digital Sports Fan Engagement Conference this week that he suspected the high ranking for St. Louis and Kansas City may be because they are located so close to the Univ. of Missouri, where Sam played college football -- Though he said that was simply individual speculation on his part.

This doesn't tell a complete story but is simply a snapshot into overall sentiment. While Nashville fans were the least positive, Middle Tennessee State kicker Alan Gendreau was embraced by his team for four years before graduating in 2012, and reaction to his story was nationally very positive -- Though he was not out publicly to fans while he played.