Twitter study: Michael Sam would be best accepted by New York, St. Louis, Chicago fans

Eric Edholm
March 6, 2014
Twitter study: Michael Sam would be best accepted by New York, St. Louis, Chicago fans

If football were not a part of the equation, then Michael Sam might hope to be drafted by the Giants, Jets, Rams or Bears.

Sam might also pray he's not taken by the Titans, Raiders or Packers.

For the past month, Sam's sexuality has dominated sports debate, through the lens of where Sam might end up playing next season and whether he'd be "accepted" as a gay man by his future teammates.

A recent study at Emory College (h/t to has taken this a step further, trying to figure out which NFL city's fans might accept Sam based on the negativity or positivity of messages on Twitter, broken down geographically.

The interesting results shows that the most accepting fans would be from, in descending order, New York, St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Tampa and Seattle.

The least-accepting fans, based on their study, would reside in Nashville, Oakland, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Jacksonville and Cleveland.

Sam had a standout career at the University of Missouri, being named co-SEC defensive player of the year in 2013, which is located in Columbia — nearly equidistant from both St. Louis and K.C., which could, in part, explain why he received such favorable responses there.

Why so negative in Nashville? Hard to say, but Sam and Mizzou did thump the local team, Vanderbilt, by 23 on their field last season. Oh by the way, Sam had three sacks in that game. 

Clearly, NFL teams aren't likely to pay this study much attention, and the overwhelming response from NFL coaches and general managers was, as you'd expect, that the teams will be evaluating Sam as a football player, and not with his sexuality. But it might be something we look back at after Sam lands on an NFL roster and then see what the fan response is in that team's city.

You'd like to think it would be positive no matter where he goes, assuming Sam is the good person he was in college and if he can make himself into a good pro. But you never know, even in this day and age.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!