Michael Sam kisses his boyfriend Vito Cammisano on TV
A new survey has found that while most Americans are fine with teams choosing openly gay sportsmen, many are not so comfortable when these athletes express any romantic intimacy in public.
The poll followed the recent high profile selection of Michael Sam by the St. Louis Rams; making him the first openly gay player to be drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team.
What generated the most controversy, however, was when footage of Sam joyfully kissing his boyfriend when he heard the news was broadcast on television.
In a YouGov/Huffington Post survey of 1000 US adults, 60% said they approved or somewhat approved of their favourite sports team signing a player who happened to be openly gay.
However, when it came to “that kiss,” 47% said that it was inappropriate for networks to show the smooch. Seventeen percent said they were not sure, while only 36% believed that it was appropriate to have shown it.
The poll found that political allegiance and age played a significant role in people’s views: 53% of Democrats and 53% of those under 30 were fine with the kiss.
It was also announced on Friday that a documentary series about Sam’s life, planned by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), had been put on hold.
Both the network and Sam’s team said that the project could distract the sportsman from focusing on his new team.
“After today’s meeting with the Rams, we collectively feel it is best to postpone the project,” said Sam’s agent, Cameron Weiss. “This will allow for Michael to have a total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to this project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message.”