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Monday, March 10, 2014

Sam the Ram? St. Louis Football Fans Would Welcome Michael Sam: Study

Posted By on Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM


St. Louis football fans would welcome Michael Sam to the Rams, according to a new study out of Emory University.

But Sam better hope he isn't the Rams pick, or the Kansas City Chiefs', for that matter. In Missouri, there's no rule prohibiting businesses from firing employees because they're gay.

Sam made international headlines last month when he came out as gay. The all-star defensive player and University of Missouri graduate would be the first openly-gay man in the NFL if he gets drafted in May -- which he probably will.

See also: Mizzou Students Block Michael Sam from Homophobic Protesters with Wall of Love

click to enlarge EMERSON UNIVERSITY

Emory business students analyzed Twitter for the two days after Sam's public coming-out to judge how U.S. cities with NFL franchises would react to seeing Sam on their roster. St. Louis ranked as the No. 2 most welcoming, just behind New York City. Kansas City fans said they'd welcome Sam, too, putting them at No. 6 on the list.

Nashville, Oakland and Green Bay fans were the most negative about Sam coming to town. Yahoo! Sports writer Eric Edholm hypothesized fans there were still smarting from Mizzou's thumping of Vanderbilt there last season. Sam made three sacks during the game.

See also: Mizzou's Michael Sam Comes Out; May Become First Openly Gay Player in NFL

click to enlarge EMERSON UNIVERSITY
  • Emerson University

Study organizers said Show-Me State tweets about Sam usually also mentioned his alma mater, the University of Missouri.

But Missouri isn't a very gay-friendly state, especially for workers. While the law prevents employment discrimination based on factors like age, race and religion, it does not stop a company from firing an employee based on sexual orientation.

A bill to add sexuality to the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act died in the House when the clock ran out before state representatives could cast their votes.

See also: 2014 State of the State: Nixon Calls to End LGBT Discrimination in the Workplace

"We need to end discrimination against LGBT Missourians in the workplace," Governor Jay Nixon said during this year's State of the State speech. "No Missourian should be fired because of who they are or who they love. Last year, the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support but failed to get to my desk. Let's get it done this year."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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