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.


  1. Lymis says

    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.

  2. Lymis says

    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.

  3. Lymis says

    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.

  4. Chazwm says

    @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!

  5. Randy says

    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.

  6. Rowan says

    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.

  7. Rowan says

    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.

  8. northalabama says

    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.

  9. Bob K says


    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.

  10. GEB says

    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.

  11. MIke says

    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.

  12. petey says

    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.

  13. petey says

    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.

  14. ny2.0 says

    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.

  15. GregV says

    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.

  16. AggieCowboy says

    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.

  17. m.r. says

    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.

  18. SeattleMike says

    Truly a watershed moment. People need to see more kisses like this so they can calm the f**k down and realize that the world is not going to end because of it.

  19. jarago says

    I have a problem with the kiss- now I have nothing against gay men kissing but I think that was the wrong place for it- an emotional hug between them would have been enough of a statement. Let’s face many people are not crazy about any type of public displays of sexuality- and that kiss was a sexual kiss.

  20. Josh says

    @JARAGO I’d be interested to hear the criteria for your determination of whether or not a kiss is “sexual”. Stephen Colbert speaks for me, per the segment highlighted here the other day.

  21. petey says


    The kiss between Madonna and Britney was fake. The kiss between Michael Sam and his boyfriend was genuine. Big difference. Don’t confuse the attention-seeking behavior of two female celebrities with the genuine show of affection of two men.

    I do think the public is less offended by two women kissing (for whatever reason). It’s a double standard that is partly the fault of women.

  22. Tony says

    This is why we need to continue showing it. They’re uncomfortable largely because they’re not used to seeing it.

    I’d be willing to bet there are still people uncomfortable seeing couples of different races kissing, too.

  23. JackFknTwist says

    First, it’s not a ‘large percentage of people'; it’s a large percent of Americans.

    Second, do we actually care about the percentages of a poll on an issue of two gays guys kissing ?

    Didn’t we all deal with this issue in David Levithan’s Book, “Two Boys Kissing “….last year.
    If any one of these oafs disapprove of us kissing ask them did they read “Two Boys Kissing”.
    We should ignore this type of gay baiting….it’s just the new gay-bashing.

    As Levithan says :
    “We had the best songs. We taught you how to dance.”

  24. JackFknTwist says

    We MUST continue public kissing now and at every affectionate, celebratory moment.
    And if this pi$$es off the straights then that’s a bonus.

  25. steve talbert says

    I think the first kiss would have been thought of differently if they didn’t keep showing Sam rub cake all over the guy’s mouth and then kiss again. It seemed very rude and gross out of the context it was probably done in.

  26. Arrow says

    Face it. You were a despised minority before equality, and you remain one now. Learn to live within those parameters, like we always have.

  27. James says

    I didn’t like the kiss because Michael Sam chose to kiss a little white twink.If Michael Sam wasn’t such a snow queen I don’t think it would have been a big deal.

  28. Twins says

    I was right. It made most people feel uncomfortable. It sees this guy is fame-whoring and not focusing about being a great football player (hence his reality show).

  29. Factoid says

    1. These issues still exist with race and have never went away. It is what African Americans see daily . I refer to it as soft racism. Its actually the most dangerous today bc it is the polite kind that means I don’t get the jib due to fit or the prime mortgage bc it us assumed I can only afford a subprime mortgage

    2. To the gay folks here , welcome to the club of what it means to be a legal minority. It means a lot of soft homophobia where they won’t call you fag but they will treat you differently as the homophobia eventually goes unsaid.

  30. Factoid says

    By the way all the its bc of how many times or bc of the cake are unintentional sad comic satire

    I’ve dated guys like some of the list here

    Go on and on about how the victim is at fault for not acting right ft the aggressor

    Thereby missing the point

    You have internalized that you should be treated differently as much as the bigots

    In fact you are worse: who wants to come home to that kind of mindset

    The really is that they have had straight players do the same thing and the media in one case replayed it often

    No one complained

  31. EchtKultig says

    Yes people are right to point out the issue here is plurality versus majority. MOST people don’t care. In fact some of the people who do object are probably just objecting to having to see it over and over. Let’s call a spade a spade, folks, the media is MILKING the gay community on this one, almost to the point of being homophobic themselves. A responsible media would have just underplayed or even ignored the significance of it, and let the right wing echo chambers foam at the mouth by themselves, as they usually do. In a week or so they would have been back to their favorite catnip of late, the Benghazi delusion/psychosis. The mainstream media has just created a massive news story out of this to have something to talk about. If only MH 370 had disappeared a couple months later. (ok, that was a little low, but I’m really getting sick of the coverage of the kiss)

  32. Factoid says

    Love the Orwellian use of “responsible”

    “Responsible” according to the bigot is for the minority to be invisible

    “Responsible” is for the media to pretend nothing had historically happened

    Its line at hiking responsible would have been for the media not to cover desegregation

    Responsible magically fits into the thing that oppresses gay
    The thing that straights do on a daily basis without question
    We can’t even do even in historic moments

    How dare we celebrate and mark significant moments

    It is better to pretend it did not happen

    That’s not responsible

    That oppression

    And its reality a sign of how sick sine self hating gays are

  33. Josh says

    @TWINS It primarily made older people uncomfortable. The poll had a strong generational divide that shows up on all LGBT issues. I wouldn’t take that for a victory lap. I would hope you think it’s a good thing younger people have a more liberal outlook on gay equality, whoever you really are…

  34. Josh says

    I would add that Michael Sam is simply living out the majoritarian millennial attitude that he has been surrounded by at college. Young Americans are the future, not 70-year-old Fox News viewers.

  35. bandanajack says

    i could have lived without the cake smearing. more appropriate for a wedding. it was his choice, but it seemed forced for the sake of the cameras running.

  36. Bill says

    @Josh : the question was about the networks showing the kiss, not the fact that they kissed. The wording of the question suggests that the media did something unusual, so some of the people who “disapproved” may have thought the couple were being singled out in some way.

  37. says

    I’m less concerned with PDA, and more worried about PDI…Public Display of IGNORANCE!
    A simple kiss, an act of Love and Emotion, should not matter to Anyone who wasn’t part of it!
    So sick of all the hatred, bigotry and stupidity!! For something that has Nothing to do with those who are crying the loudest…it Happened…You Can’t Change That Fact…move along!
    The world still spins!

  38. JMC says

    Bob K, that kiss garnered no attention because no one gives a sh!t about competitive bowling. Most would be shocked to learn that bowling is even televised at all and would likely choose to watch paint dry over a bowling competition on TV. What an absurd comparison.

  39. jjose712 says

    Who cares, people who are not bigots will get used to it, it’s a question of time. And the bigots won’t like it like never, so their opinion doesn’t matter anyway

  40. Constance says

    RICK..You can post as as many handles as you want, we know youre the resident troll who takes issue with Micam’s kiss. The very wording of comments posted here taking issue with his ACT ONES YOU POSTED AS RICK the day after the kiss. You’re wayyy too obvious at this point.

  41. Donnie says

    How about the kiss cam on a jumbo screen at EVERY single sporting event that shows heteros sucking face (yeah, they almost always go deep for the kiss)…? where’s the outrage over that?

    Hypocritical heteros.

  42. David says

    why is it that you see so many straight couples in the park, in the mall, on the street, anywhere in public kissing or holding hands, but if 2 men do the same it’s a big deal?

  43. Two Dads says

    There needs to be MORE gay kisses and affection in life, NOT LESS. This is a matter of people getting used to something we gays have gotten used to with straight couples showing being an identifiable couple in our faces for all our lives….and we managed to get over it. They will learn to as well.

  44. Leon K. says

    My partner and I hold hands everywhere we go. It feels liberating, loving and we are more in love as a result of holding hands. We also know we’re helping society progress in our own way by desensitizing them to seeing a gay couple in front of their eyes.

  45. Davey says

    Someone mentioned it brilliantly above and I’m seeing this point made more often (and I believe it’s the best counter point I’ve seen to this story)

    What about all the kiss cams that occur at every single sports event? A camera on a huge screen zooming in on a straight couple and demanding they kiss, much to the excitement and cheers of the crowd. And there’s videos of straight couples riding each other’s faces during those kisses. No outrage, no complaints, just cheers.

    Heterosexuals, notably Christian heterosexuals, are terrible at staying consistent with their preaching.

  46. Fiat says

    Most people DIDN’T care about the kiss. The only people who cared were the neocons who throw a fit over everything gay, and the apologetic self hating gay crowd who is *always* fixated on their “we have to always be mindful of straight people everytime we walk out our door, because impressing them is our sole purpose in existing” mentality….otherwise, most didn’t care about the kiss.

    And for us well adjusted gays, we not only celebrated the kiss but realized why it was needed and vital

  47. Ben Jenhiani says

    Going back in the closet isn’t helping anyone, it’s only hurting yourself and the movement. I had a friend who’s boyfriend lived with him and he introduced his boyfriend as simply a roommate to his family. When I asked him why? he stated they were homophobic but kind people. I told him “you do realize, by having a live in boyfriend who you introduce as a roommate, you’re not helping them be LESS homophobic, right? You have a golden opportunity to open their mind.”

    This beautiful kiss by Michael Sam gave us a golden opportunity to COME OUT with our relationships and show heterosexuals we exist and there’s many Michael Sam’s out there. Not go back in the closet for fear of backlash. That sort of apologetic thinking compounds then expands homophobia.

  48. Martin- Texas says

    My grandparents ARE an interracial couple and one of their favorite stories to tell is the picture of them after they got married, in a small local paper. The paper informed them of the DOZENS of angry letters they received. People got over it.

    People will get over a gay kiss too. But only if they see more gay kisses, like how America saw more interracial straight couples. The solution is more exposure and dialogue, not less.

    My grandparents will tell ya, they never ever censored their relationship. Even in mixed company, they proudly held hands in a time it was a taboo. They are what made change possible and I can’t imagine how many minds they opened just by being themselves.

  49. CeeJOE says

    Here’s the deal….heterosexuals are finally at a place where they can kinda accept gay individuals, but gay couples is something foreign to them. Hence it’s our responsibility as a community to finally *come out* of the closet with our -RELATIONSHIPS-. We’ve successfully come out of the closet as individuals, but now we should consider being out in who our partner is. Now that doesn’t have to mean a public kiss, but it should mean a facebook update about your significant other. Or maybe holding hands in public when you feel comfortable. Or in casual convo, not being afraid to name your partner or mention you have one. It’s acts like that, which heteros do on an hourly basis, with normalizes who we are and takes the shock value of BEING gay, out.

  50. disgusted american says

    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

    RIGHT ON!!!!! Agreed!!!!!

  51. Marty says

    Some Christians can’t grasp that they have to SHARE this society with non Christians and non heteros. They’ll have to get used to it. I pay taxes, and pay my own rent. If I’m out on dinner with my partner, he and I do (appropriately) kiss, and hold hands, and there’s no shame in my game and being gay. Last I checked, these Christian bigots don’t pay my bills. I live my life for my bliss.

  52. Junior says

    Most people under didn’t care about the kiss. What I’m starting to resent by the media and the apologetic gay crowd is how much power you all give to the conservative right wing bloggers and hashtagtivists.

    Those right wing neocons protest EVERYTHING gay on their television screen. From the amazing kinky boots performance at a parade, to ANY gay couple on any show. For anyone, notably a gay person, to give credence and credibility to these neocons and suggest we ‘tone it down to respect people’ is feeding into their mob mentality of terrorizing us back in the closet.

    They are a vocal minority. Treat them as such.

  53. BrokebackBob says

    As mentioned here….HuffPo should do a split demographic poll and include a lot more people. This is not a valid poll based on the population of the US. The split should be on age range and income. HuffPo does a lot of these “poll-light” thingies that are not valid statistically but get a lot of attention. My initial reaction to this pole was “Tell those haters to stop being hypocrites and GET OVER IT AND CHECK THEMSELVES!

  54. JJ says

    @NY2.0 “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.”

    I agree with you there, except that I think a lot of straight people who openly are for equality don’t wan’t to come off as BACKWARD. I say that because most who are against gay rights are religious, small town/rural, traditional and less educated than those who are for gay rights. It’s more of them making a statement saying “I am NOT one of THOSE!”

  55. Watv505 says

    Any gay person who lives their life fully revolved around impressing heterosexuals is really missing out on this thing called life, happiness and freedom.

  56. Gary says

    ” Glorified groans from what must be the world’s most comfortably oppressed class, borrowing the cries of people long facing truly brutal oppression. It’s a phenomenon worth some sober thought: on the politics of ennobled victimization.” RCB on Gay Equality

  57. Bill says

    @BrokebackBob : when I checked the link, they did have things broken down by age and income, among other categories. As to the sample size, to reduce the error by half you have to double the size of the sample, assuming a sample small compared to the total population. They stated what the error is as well, so I wouldn’t blame the statistical analysis.

    Confusion over what the question meant is a different issue as that could create a biased outcome. Also a “don’t know” response doesn’t mean anything about gay rights. If they had asked me (usually I don’t answer polls because you never know who is trying to collect marketing data about you), I’d have said that I didn’t know, but that answer would simply have been due to not paying attention to the NFL draft and not watching the kiss on TV, giving me no idea of what the media coverage was like. What I would definitely consider inappropriate would be footage obtained via a small drone hovering outside their window.

  58. says

    With so much disgused and blatant racism in the LGTBQ Community. I find it strange everything has to be compared to colored people as Lymis said. Oh and Rowan reading comments on Towleroad let us already know that many white gays don’t like blacks so what else is new?

  59. REALLY? says

    Reading James and CHOCOLATEBEARCUB’s comments let’s know how racist the black community is towards whites and homophobic toward Gays.
    And did anyone notice that CHOCOLATEBEARCUB had NOTHING to say about ALAN KEYS’ nazi comments, it’s because CHOCOLATEBEARCUB agrees with ALAN KEYS

  60. Mike says

    95%-97% of the population is straight, so obviously most people don’t want to see two dudes make out. Sorry, I know you want to be able to kiss your spouse on national television like the rest of the players, but most people don’t want to see that. It’s hard for people to conform to the tastes of an extreme minority. It’s not hatred, we just have vastly different tastes. If I were gay I would understand this and act accordingly. Sorry but the majority sets the cultural standards. Nudist’s don’t like to wear close, but the public had decided that people should wear close, but nudists are still free to engage in this behavior on private property, gay people should take a lesson from nudists.

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