Michael Sam | Television

Poll Shows Plurality Of Americans Disapproved Of Michael Sam's Historic Kiss


Looks like the celebratory kiss between openly gay NFL player Michael Sam and his boyfriend Vito Cammisano didn’t just upset a lot more people than just Donald Trump, Peter LaBarbera, Amy Kushnir, Don Jones II and Derrick Ward.

According to a recent poll of 1,000 American adults, although many people support an openly gay player in pro sports teams, a plurality found it “inappropriate for networks broadcasting the draft to show this kiss.”

HuffPo breaks down the stats:

According to the new poll, 60 percent of Americans said they would approve of their favorite sports team signing an openly gay player, while 20 percent said they would disapprove. Among NFL fans in particular, 65 percent said they would approve and 21 percent said they would disapprove. Forty-four percent of Americans, and 47 percent of NFL fans, said they would strongly approve…

But although most Americans approve of gay players in theory, many are less comfortable with the reality. Male athletes kissing their wives or girlfriends is routine territory for networks covering victory and other sporting celebrations, but coverage of Sam's kissing his boyfriend after he was drafted has generated controversy. Forty-seven percent in the new poll said it was "inappropriate" for networks to show the kiss, while only 36 percent said it was "appropriate." Seventeen percent said they weren't sure.

Seems that writer Michelangelo Signorile was dead on when he said earlier this week, “A lot of people who consider themselves pro-gay probably are uneasy about seeing gays kissing, just like a lot of people who in the past said they supported interracial marriage were probably uneasy when they saw two straight people of different races kissing.”

Despite the reaction, media figures are still  aware of the groundbreaking significance of the Sam-Cammisano kiss. CNN called it a TV watershed movement as the television's first unscripted gay kiss.

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  1. Wonder if the issue was the media replaying this 1,000 times.

    Posted by: michael | May 17, 2014 5:36:59 PM

  2. Romney got 47%, too. If you looked at people under 50, I bet the numbers look a lot different.

    Posted by: Josh | May 17, 2014 5:40:14 PM

  3. Well, you know, there was a time when people cautiously approved of allowing colored people to be around as long as they knew their place, used the right entrances, and didn't do inappropriate things like kissing each other in their own homes, too.

    TV shows straight people kissing their significant others at emotional moments all the time. The plurality of people who have an issue with this have identified what they themselves need to get over, not what TV shouldn't be showing.

    Posted by: Lymis | May 17, 2014 5:40:47 PM

  4. @Michael
    Wonder if the issue was the media replying this 1000 times and each time, asking, "What do you think about this?" - making people feel they need to even have an opinion.

    Posted by: Lymis | May 17, 2014 5:42:04 PM

  5. @Michael
    Wonder if the issue was the media replying this 1000 times and each time, asking, "What do you think about this?" - making people feel they need to even have an opinion.

    Posted by: Lymis | May 17, 2014 5:42:08 PM

  6. Per the article, people under 30 were 2:1 pro-kiss while 69% of the 65+ crowd were forced to hide under their beds.

    Posted by: Josh | May 17, 2014 5:46:19 PM

  7. @MICHAEL and @JOSH You got it exactly right I am sure! AND the headline is wrong...a plurality does not infer a majority...especially in a pole where 'opponents' speak up ...and those who are not sure cannot say one way OR the other...I think if you didn't like the kiss you said so! That leaves 53 ercent who said YEAH...seems acceptable!

    Posted by: Chazwm | May 17, 2014 5:46:34 PM

  8. This is one reason so many of your friends and neighbors voted to ban your marriages.

    People SAY they are for equality, because that's a good thing and they regard themselves as good. But they are bigots, and bigotry takes time to unlearn.

    Posted by: Randy | May 17, 2014 5:49:27 PM

  9. Do a poll here...lots if gays didn't like it either. Like lots of black people despising Lupita and never coherently explaining why.

    Mike and Geb have been spamming any Sam post with their deep deep distaste of this stranger they don't know who..gulp...kissed his boyfriend! Note they never feel this strongly when gays are killed, beaten, spat on or lose rights. Nope, just a f*cking kiss because those guts are such activists.

    To also be pretend it wasn't an interracial kiss as well?

    My respect for Sam can't get any higher. So glad he kissed his GD boyfriend like any NORMAL human being would do after they think they won't make the draft after they fell from mid-range to bottom range over-night after coming out.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 17, 2014 5:51:46 PM

  10. Randy, gays are also to blame. I know so many gays who let their femal friends faghag them to some who let their family or acquaintances or friends get away with being really ignorant.

    The bottom line for me is, 'If your my friend and you have a racist boyfriend/close etc and you don't stick up for me eloquently? We're done. Same with sexuality.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 17, 2014 5:58:11 PM

  11. frankly why does anyone else's opinion really matter . the media spends more time trying to create stories than reporting them .

    Posted by: walter | May 17, 2014 6:01:03 PM

  12. You got it, Walter!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 17, 2014 6:05:51 PM

  13. bottom line, if it were a straight couple celebrating, or even a lesbian couple for that matter, the numbers would show more acceptance.

    gay men still have a way to go to being accepted by the ignorant, heterosexist, straight male dominated opinions.

    Posted by: northalabama | May 17, 2014 6:06:59 PM


    Should have asked if the crying, blubbering, oversentimentality, and cake smearing was the offensive part.
    I think the kind of kiss that the bowling champion gave his husband on TV a couple of years ago caused little notice

    Part of it is that Black people are often more demonstrative in their emotions -- Sam's behavior was like many straight Black athletes, but White men are told to contain themselves.

    Posted by: Bob K | May 17, 2014 6:08:30 PM

  15. The sample size is too ridiculously minuscule for me to take the poll seriously.

    Posted by: Talisman | May 17, 2014 6:08:42 PM

  16. Talisman: I think you are referring to something on you that is ridiculously miniscule. Towleroad is a lonely one. Don't get a flat on here.

    Posted by: GEB | May 17, 2014 6:17:48 PM

  17. You're full of crap, Rowan. I said nothing about Michael Sam until the reality show news came along, and I still say his "roll out" couldn't have gone more wrong. I have a feeling the background story is the Rams had something to say about his people wanting to show up at training camp as "executive producers" of a reality show with Oprah cameras in tow. I believe I said he's have to choose one or the other, football career or OWN star, and he wasn't going to get away with both, and that got your panties in a twist.

    Posted by: MIke | May 17, 2014 6:24:04 PM

  18. "You must remember this,
    A kiss is just a kiss.............."

    Posted by: David From Canada | May 17, 2014 6:33:27 PM

  19. Two men kissing erotically is a very powerful statement. It proves that men are superior to women.

    You also need to remember that it is not commonly seen in public, not even in liberal towns like NYC.

    Posted by: petey | May 17, 2014 6:39:01 PM

  20. The thing that made the kiss less palatable was the cake over the face. It looked like sperm. Still, the poll shows that most Americans were not opposed.

    Posted by: petey | May 17, 2014 6:41:42 PM

  21. I am not really surprised by the findings of the poll. A lot of our straight "allies" are still very uncomfortable with the public displays of affection of same-sex couples (two men in particular).

    Many straight people do not want to come off as bigots and will support the idea of equality for all but when faced with actual examples of equality in terms of affection between same-sex couples, many of them still get queazy. The idea of equality for gays in the abstract is fine for a majority of straight people nowadays, but to actually see it makes many uncomfortable.

    Posted by: ny2.0 | May 17, 2014 6:51:35 PM

  22. I agree that one problem is that the media showed the kiss over and over and demanded that people have an opinion. Because of that, the poll may or may not mean what the pollsters think it means. Maybe some people, for example, thought it was appropriate to show at the moment of celebration but interpreted the question to mean was it appropriate to broadcast it over and over and create a controversy over something innocuous.

    Also, one huge weakness in this poll is that there don't seem to be any comparison questions in order to lead to any conclusions. Could, for, example these be the same (now mostly old) people who also disapproved of that OTHER famous interracial kiss on Star Trek?
    How many of these same people disapproved also of the repeatedly-broadcast Al-and-Tipper-Gore lip-lock several years ago? (If the number is the same, maybe they just don't like PDA. Or maybe they don't like to be shown the same kiss again and again but are fine with a same-sex or different-sex and same-race or different-race kiss when it happens in the moment. Maybe they think it's intrusive to have the media in someone's living room.

    There are definitely SOME homophobes among the disapprovers. We can't make any conclusion from an isolated question.

    The good news (and what could be the headline) is that most young people "strongly approved" of the kiss, for whatever reasons they had.

    Posted by: GregV | May 17, 2014 6:56:00 PM

  23. Lucy and Ricky sharing a bed for the first time in television history was greeted with great disapproval and discomfort.

    People got over it.

    The first televised interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura (although forced by alien mind control) was greeted with great disapproval and discomfort.

    People got over it.

    The Sam-Cammisano celebratory kiss (a first for televised professional sports) is being greeted with great disapproval and discomfort.

    People will get over it...and sooner rather than later.

    Sometimes you just have to force people outside of their comfort zone before they open their eyes.

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | May 17, 2014 7:02:22 PM

  24. Playing the kiss over & over will probably turn out to be a good thing in the long run. All the faux outrage begins to feel like overkill and the next time it happens people will feel stupid if they overreact again. The next time however, should come fairly soon. Waiting 5 years to show another gay couple kissing will nullify any effect.

    I remember the same sex kiss between Madonna and Britney being played over & over & over with tons of polls on it. Today people barely blink if two women kiss.

    The thing with out gay men is they essentially act in public like they've been neutered. in order to gain acceptance they downplay the fact they have any sexuality at all. Michael Sam is essentially changing the playbook. He's more revolutionary than people realize.

    Posted by: m.r. | May 17, 2014 7:16:24 PM

  25. Still - when you add the 36% (appropriate) with the 17% (who aren't sure - probably means they don't care either), you get 53%.

    Posted by: Retro | May 17, 2014 7:17:12 PM

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