On the one-year anniversary of Michael Sam being drafted to the NFL ( May 10 ), the world's first international study on homophobia in sportscalled "Out in the Fields"has revealed widespread discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual ( LGB ) U.S. residents.
Of particular note, given Sam's story and ongoing debate around whether his career was impacted by homophobia, the study found gay male athletes in the United States were the most likely to remain in the closet due to fears of discrimination from coaches and officials.
The report also concluded that U.S. individuals were also the most likely to report witnessing or experiencing homophobia in sportswhich contributed to the country being ranked the lowest of the six major English-speaking countries for inclusion of LGB people in sports.
Among the key findings were that:
45 percent of gay and 18 percent of lesbian youth who remained in the closet said they feared discrimination from coaches and officials. U.S. gay men were the most likely to fear discrimination from coaches and officials;
78 percent believe youth sports are not safe and supportive for LGB people; and
There are positive signs of change as more U.S. youth "coming out" while playing sports.
The study included almost 9,500 participants, including more than 2,000 from the United States.