If these top college recruits from the Dallas, Texas, area are representative of their peers, an openly gay or trans player on their team would face rejection as much as acceptance.
EJ Holland of texas.247sports, a website that follows University of Texas sports, asked 16 top Dallas college football recruits — all offered scholarships to a Power 5 conference school — this question:
Would you mind having a gay/transgender player on your team?
Yes - 53%
No - 47%
Quick Take: Recruits really struggled to answer this question. While the numbers were close, it doesn't appear that gay/transgender players are fully accepted in the world of football.
Interesting quote: "Come on EJ, why are you asking me this? No just no. I don't want none of that on my team."
In doing the math, 53% means eight players would mind having a gay/trans teammate, seven would not mind and one did not answer.
This is obviously not a scientific survey and is representative only of the recruits Holland asked, but all of these guys will be playing college football so their answers do mean something.
I wonder if adding “transgender” skewed the results in any way. It’s sad, but I think gay people are more accepted than trans people (witness those ugly “bathroom bills”), and I have never heard of a case of a transgender football player; maybe the concept seemed foreign to these recruits.
I also wonder if the age of these players — not yet college freshmen — played a role in their answer. In 2009, an ESPN survey found that half of the college football players questioned said they had a gay teammate, with that number jumping to 70% in the then-Pac-10. In 2014, an ESPN survey of 51 NFL players found 86% would be OK with a gay teammate.
This fall, there will be three openly gay college football players, including one at the University of Arizona, an FBS school.