THE first-ever openly-gay professional gridiron player to have been drafted into an NFL team has thrown his support behind a research survey looking at homophobia in sport and urged more people to take part.
The news came on the eve of the Gay Games in Cleveland, US, which is due to commence tomorrow morning Australian time.
The survey is being spearheaded by organisers of the upcoming Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, and it will collect data in Australia and other English-speaking countries, so they can be compared.
The results will help researchers determine both the extent of homophobia internationally as well as which countries are doing the best job at creating welcoming and inclusive sports cultures for gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
Sam appears in a video alongside other sports stars, including South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Sam and Tom Burgess, World Cup Australian soccer player Sarah Walsh, Wallabies player David Pocock and AFL player Brock McLean.
Researchers conducting the Out on the Fields study have said so far 2500 people have taken part in the survey, and they are encouraging more people from around the world to take part as well as share links to the video on social media to motivate others to participate.
“The release of the survey’s preliminary Australian results last month was extremely powerful,” Bingham Cup Sydney president Andrew Purchas said.
“We are confident this will be repeated around the world if we are able to increase survey participation rates in the US, Canada and the UK.”
Preliminary results of the survey were released last month, with the complete results expected to be released later this year.
Federation of Gay Games membership vice-president Les Johnson has also publicly shown his support for the survey.
“[Out on the Fields] has the potential to help provide a much clearer understanding of the extent and nature of homophobia in sports,” he said.
“Recent high-profile coming outs should not hide how endemic the problem remains on the whole.
“Everyone has had a unique experience, which is why it is essential that we encourage a large number of LGBT people to share their stories, whether or not they themselves have played sports or experienced discrimination.”
The study is open to everyone, regardless of sexuality or whether they have played sports. To do the survey, visit www.outonthefields.com