Large majority of fans favor gay athletes
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Over the last three days I've talked to dozens of fans here in Phoenix for the Super Bowl from the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots, along with others from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals and other teams. Sometimes they've been waiting in line at Cartel Coffee Lab (some of the best coffee I've ever had), sometimes they've been wandering around Radio Row, and other times I've simply walked up to people standing on the sidewalk (in the rain, sadly).
My big question has been this: Would you care one bit if Michael Sam, or some other gay athlete, was on your favorite team?
No matter whom I asked, the answer has been a resounding "no." It hasn't been, "it depends on how he plays," or "I don't love the idea but I'd learn to accept him." Every single person has said that not only would they not care one bit, but none of their friends would care and no one in Seattle or Foxboro during their teams' wins in the conference championship games would care either.
"I just don't see it with the Seahawks fan base for sure," said Sonia Alvarado, a Seahawks season-ticket-holder headed to the Super Bowl tomorrow. "They're a crazy group of diehards. It doesn't really matter as long as the team is winning, and even when the team isn't winning it doesn't matter."
Patriots fans were no different. In fact, this one fan would welcome it.
"I think it would be fantastic if he were on the Seahawks, on the Patriots, on any team," said Stefan Millae, a Patriots fan living in Minneapolis. "I don't think any team should not bring in anybody with the ability to play."
For the record, I don't introduce myself when talking to the fans on the off chance they've heard my name connected with Sam or have heard of Outsports. I tell them I'm doing a story for SB Nation (which is true!).
So if you're a fan here in Phoenix for the Super Bowl, and you would have a problem with Michael Sam or any gay player being on your Super Bowl team, please contact me. I'd love to talk with you.