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Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Updated: September 19, 6:02 PM ET
Are you ready for a gay pro athlete?


  • SportsNation Map: Does it matter to you? | Go to the polls

    As Esera Tuaolo says in his article for ESPN Magazine and ESPN.com, throughout his nine-year NFL career he was terrified to reveal his homosexuality. But what we found might encourage other gay athletes to step out of the closet.

    Esera Tuaolo
    A SportsNation survey indicates that pro athletes might have less trouble with fans than with teammates.
    As part of our extensive, ongoing survey of sports opinions and attitudes, we asked more than 40,000 randomly selected ESPN.com users, "If your favorite player announced he was gay, would that make a difference to you?" While 22 percent of sports fans said 'yes', 78 percent said 'no'.

    The table below shows how receptive each state's sports fans would be to a gay player. In Minnesota, where Tuaolo now lives, 81 percent say it would not matter if their favorite player were gay, while in Hawaii, where Tuaolo spent several off-seasons while in the league, the figure is 89 percent (tying Hawaii with Nevada for highest in the nation). Tuaolo would probably receive far less support in Alabama and Mississippi, where 52 percent of sports fans say it would not matter if their favorite player were gay.

    If your favorite player announced he was gay,
    would that make a difference to you?
    State-By-State Breakdown
    State Yes No State Yes No State Yes No
    Alabama 48 52 Louisiana 25 75 Ohio 23 77
    Alaska 34 46 Maine 13 87 Oklahoma 37 63
    Arizona 21 39 Maryland 19 81 Oregon 19 81
    Arkansas 45 55 Massachusetts 13 87 Pennsylvania 21 79
    California 18 82 Michigan 26 74 Rhode Island 14 86
    Colorado 20 80 Minnesota 19 81 South Carolina 37 63
    Connecticut 17 83 Mississippi 48 52 South Dakota 42 58
    Delaware 14 86 Missouri 22 78 Tennessee 32 68
    Florida 22 78 Montana 30 70 Texas 27 73
    Georgia 31 69 Nebraska 28 72 Utah 40 60
    Hawaii 11 89 Nevada 11 89 Vermont 13 87
    Idaho 30 70 New Hampshire 23 77 Virginia 25 75
    Illinois 21 79 New Jersey 18 82 Washington 16 84
    Indiana 25 75 New Mexico 23 77 Washington, D.C. 15 85
    Iowa 30 70 New York 17 83 West Virginia 33 67
    Kansas 21 79 North Carolina 30 70 Wisconsin 23 77
    Kentucky 41 59 North Dakota 29 71 Wyoming 36 64