After conducting a study into homophobia in sport, the BBC have concluded that 82% of British football fans would have absolutely no issue with their club signing an openly gay player.
Alas, the online survey, as commissioned by BBC Radio 5 Live and carried out by ComRes, also found that just under one fifth of fans would prefer gay players to keep their sexuality to themselves while 8% would stop watching their team entirely if they were to sign an openly gay player.
Elsewhere, 15% of football fans thought that having a gay player in a team would make their straight teammates uncomfortable.
Astounding, isn’t it? We can’t even begin to conceive of that mindset. And so the stigma continues to exist for no good reason.
Exactly half of the 4,000 or so football fans polled also admitted to hearing homophobic abuse at games, while 51% have heard sexist abuse and 59% have heard racist abuse.
After happening across the results, Chris Sutton had a stern word for the aforementioned 8%, with the former Norwich striker telling BBC Sport:
Coming out wouldn’t be a problem in the workplace.
Working at a football club is just like anywhere else. Players I played with wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
This 8% shouldn’t be allowed in football grounds. By not taking it on, the 8% are the winners in all of this.
As we’ve said before many, many times on Pies: Openly gay, openly straight – you shouldn’t feel the need to be openly anything as far as your professional life is concerned. It’s entirely a matter of personal choice.
At the very least, the survey shows that these homophobic dolts are in the vast minority now which means that bit by bit, attitudes are changing and basic tolerance is becoming increasingly commonplace.
Surely that can only ever be construed as progress for the better?