5/3: Widespread Discrimination Against LGBT Athletes Exists

Marist Center for Sports Communication/Marist National Poll

Eight in ten Americans, 80%, think gay, lesbian, or bisexual athletes face at least some degree of discrimination from their professional teammates.  Included here are 35% of residents nationally who believe LGBT athletes suffer from a lot of discrimination from those on their team, and 45% who think they experience at least some discrimination.  12% of Americans do not think LGBT athletes experience any discrimination from their fellow team members.

Opinion on this issue is similar across most segments of the nation with the exception of race.  A majority of African Americans, 51%, say gay, lesbian, or bisexual athletes experience a great deal of discrimination from their fellow players.  This compares with 31% of whites and 37% of Latinos who share this view.

This Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

“Sports fans have a perception of the discrimination endured by LGBT athletes, something likely driven by high profile events,” says Keith Strudler, Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “It’s critical for professional and amateur sports teams and leagues to continue to create an accepting space for all athletes, but they also need to communicate those efforts with the public — something many leagues are working hard to do.”

Most Americans, 80%, also believe that gay, lesbian, or bisexual athletes are discriminated against by sports fans.  This includes 35% who believe LGBT athletes experience a lot of discrimination and 45% who report they face a little discrimination from sports fans.  14% think they are not discriminated against at all.

Again, race is somewhat of a factor in Americans’ opinions, but this time age plays a role, too.  48% of African Americans and 44% of Latinos perceive sports fans to discriminate a lot against LGBT athletes.  32% of whites agree.  Younger Americans, those under 45 years of age, 42%, are also more likely than their older counterparts, 29%, to believe these athletes face a lot of discrimination from sports fans.

When it comes to signing a transgender athlete to a professional sports team, nearly six in ten Americans, 58%, either strongly favor, 14%, or favor, 44%, such agreements.  29% either oppose, 24%, or strongly oppose, 5%, these signings.  13% are unsure.

Here, there is little difference with regard to race or age.  Women, 64%, though are more likely than men, 50%, to favor the signing of transgender athletes to professional sports teams.

Click Here for Complete May 3, 2017 USA Marist Poll Release and Tables

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample