A survey by the BBC and ComRes of several thousand soccer fans in Great Britain has found that 82% of them don’t have any issue with a gay player on their favorite team, with another 10% just not sure.
Only 8% of the people said they would have a problem with a gay player and would likely stop going to their favorite team’s matches if they welcomed a gay athlete.
While some people are harping on that 8%, that is an incredibly tiny amount that likely won’t change any time soon. Surveys of British people have shown that half of them believe evolution never happened, and 10% think that God simply created the earth in seven days a few thousand years ago. Heck there are people who still swear the earth is flat.
That 8% was also less than the percentage who would have a problem if their team signed a player who had clinical depression (19%) or expressed strong political opinions (28%).
The survey also showed that racist and sexist abuse at soccer matches is even worse than homophobic abuse. Only 47% of respondents said they had heard anti-gay language, but 48% said they have heard sexism and 56% said they have heard racism.
It shows just how wrong Football Association head Greg Clarke was when he said recently that he can’t encourage gay athletes to come out in soccer. Would he say the same thing to black athletes? That they should not play in the Premier League? Because they face worse than a gay player would.