Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

The Public Supports Gay Athletes Coming Out


Following NBA player Jason Collins' public announcement that he is gay, a quarter of Americans, 25 percent, believe having an openly gay athlete is a positive development for society. Seventeen percent say having an active athlete announce he is gay is a negative change for society and 57 percent feel it makes no impact.

An overwhelming number of Americans—87 percent—say their support would not change (77 percent) or would increase (10 percent) if their favorite athlete announced he or she is gay. Just 12 percent say they'd be less likely to support their favorite athlete after learning he or she is gay. 

Not surprisingly, young Americans were most likely to say an athlete publicly announcing he is gay is a positive development for the country. In fact, 36 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 believe Collins' announcement was good for society. And just 7 percent of 18-24 year-olds feel it was negative for society. In fact, 36 percent of Americans under 40 agreed Collin's announcement was a positive thing for society. Half say it doesn't significantly impact society either way.

Roughly 40 percent of Democrats and Americans with college and postgraduate degrees and a third of women, Latinos, Caucasians and American with higher incomes say openly gay athletes is a positive development.

Only 12 percent of Americans told Reason-Rupe they'd be less likely to support their favorite athlete after learning he or she is gay. About a quarter of self-identified conservatives said learning this would make them less likely to support their favorite athlete, however 70 percent said it would not make much of a difference.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted May 9-13 2013 interviewed 1003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results found here. Full methodology can be found hereDemographics and detailed tables are available here.

A version of this article first appeared in the Orange County Register.

Photo Credit: Kwaku Alston/For Sports Illustrated.

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  1. “57 percent feel it makes no impact.”

    How does this translate into public *support*?

    1. Support doesn’t necessarily entail candlelight vigils and pride parades. It might be something as simple as not thinking less of a dude if he likes to throw a pass to a tight end.

      1. It’s kinda of a weird thing. I don’t give a fuck either way about them coming out but someone has to be the first (I’m not even really sure this one counts yet), fact is most are in the closet publicly and there has to be this whole charade about them coming out because that is the status quo.

  2. This member of the public supports not giving a shit about who athletes/performers/politicians like to fuck.

    Not long ago I was listening to some local GOP lawyer bitching about David Vitter. He is a poonhound, he spends all his time in a whorehouse….on and on and on.

    Finally I just asked the guy; “Is the man defending my freedom or trying to take it away?”

    That seemed like a slap in his face..he stopped for a few seconds then mumbled ” Well, he is pretty good on the votes.”

    I said “That is what I hired him for. He can cheat on his wife with a german sheppard for all I care. What he does in his free time is none of my business”

    Asshole sat down and was quiet after that.

    1. Yeah, he’s not really that good on the votes though.

      1. Mary. Fucking. Landrieu.

        Compare and contrast….he could be a lot worse. I dont see anyone around who would be much of an improvement.

        For all the bitching we do about politicians it rarely seems to come up that there just isnt anyone good who wants those jobs.

        1. How about ole Huey. Fornicating. Long?

  3. You know what else the public supports?

    1. Free shit?

    2. Not 3d printed guns?

  4. You who know who else the public supported?

  5. Yeah, but what about gay coaches? I’M LOOKING AT YOU, BILL PARCELLS!!!!

  6. Maybe if the athletes had alt-text they could come out there.

  7. Coming out of what?

  8. I find it odd that pro athletes are so reluctant to come out. The DH rule has been around since the early 70s, and I can’t think of anything gayer than that.

    1. Soccer.

        1. It takes a big man to suck it up and spit it out that he’s been outgayed.

          1. Hey I’ve been a pitcher and I’ve been a catcher. But no matter what you do, all that matters is how well you handle balls.

    2. WNBA?

      1. That’s not gay, it’s lesbian.

  9. If he ain’t rubbing his junk on me or mine, I don’t really give a shit what he rubs up against. Who (or what) other people fuck is not something I waste time worrying about.

  10. I won’t be satisfied until everyone comes out about all their sexual practices. In fact it should be mandatory. I NEED to know who is into S&M, robot fantasy, feederism, BBW, teens, dogs, latex, voyerism, cosplay, crush, threesomes, and straight.

    Oh wait, none of this effects me. Carry-on.

    1. Not even threesomes?

  11. We won’t be a tolerant society until 100% of people find coming out a positive development and embrace it fully.

  12. Some liberals are complaining that these newly out sportsmen are missing the mark by emphasizing their masculinity, thereby marginalizing effeminate men. On the one hand it’s obvious that effeminate gay men are more at risk of discrimination or worse than gay men who can pass as straight. On the other hand, gay fashion designers, interior decorators, makeup artists, and other traditionally gay but traditionally effeminate roles, have been a part of mainstream culture for at least a decade. I don’t like any implication that outward masculine expression is somehow superior. (The heterosexual white male hegemony really needs to be taken down a peg. It’s the most regressive demographic, typical of a “ruling class.”) But getting these idiots comfortable with homosexuality via an introductory course on butch gay men doesn’t seem the worst way to handle it.

    1. I’ll bite.

      There’s no such thing as a regressive demographic Tony, because there’s no such thing as progress. You’re letting that asinine Marxist ideological influence slip through. The only thing that ever changes is the technological environment. Outside of that, it’s the same old themes that have been bantered about for eons. Read a transcript from the Roman assembly, and you find all the same characters wearing all the same hats you have today…the moralists, the hedonists, the traditionalists, the collectivists, the liberals…they’re all there. Nothing ever changes in social climate that wasn’t first precipitated by a major technological innovation or environmental breakthrough. So your whole premise is off-base.

      As far as the rest of the shit you said, nobody cares.

  13. Dude is making no sense at all ovewr there.

  14. I don’t care either way…so I guess that would put me in the No Impact category.

    I’m tired of hearing about it honestly.

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