Thursday, July 17, 2008

How Gay Are Football Players?

So, I was sitting there reading my Scientific American article on Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom, wondering if God ever had any second thoughts about the whole ark thing, when I came across this:

In a study published this year in the journal Sex Roles, Anderson found that 40 percent of 49 heterosexual former high school football players attending various U.S. universities had had at least one homosexual encounter. These ranged from kissing to oral sex to threesomes that included a woman.
Wait, 40% of football players are gay?
In team sports, homosexuality is “no big deal and it increases cohesion among members of that team,” Anderson claims. “It feels good, and [the athletes] bond.”
That is one form of team bonding that I had never heard of before. And since when is homosexuality no big deal on a sports team? Last I checked it was one of the most homophobic cultures out there.

This seemed so crazy that I had to track down the article. I found more here:
A study of former high-school American Football players has found that more than a third said they had had sexual relations with other men. In his study of homosexuality among sportsmen in the US, sociologist Dr Eric Anderson found that 19 in a sample of 47 had taken part in acts intended to sexually arouse other men, ranging from kissing to mutual masturbation and oral sex. The 47 men, aged 18-23, were all American Football players who previously played at the high school (secondary school) level but had failed to be picked for their university's team and were now cheerleaders instead.
Um, they are all cheerleaders now? This is supposed to a representative sample of football players? Are you kidding me? And how is 47 individuals enough to draw any sort of conclusions?
He said the study was not biased by talking to sportsmen who were now cheerleaders, which is often seen as a feminine activity. Those he interviewed were selected to represent men that considered themselves traditionally masculine, typical American Football players.
Not biased, are you serious? Don't typical American football players, you know, play football?
"Second, my informants do not feel that their same-sex sex jeopardizes their socially perceived heterosexual identities, at least within the cheerleading culture. In other words, having gay sex does not automatically make them gay in masculine peer culture."
First, are there really perceived heterosexual identities in cheerleading culture? And second, besides having sex with other men, what else does one have to do to be considered gay?
Dr Anderson was the first openly gay male high school sports coach in the US. He left coaching after one of his students was assaulted because it was assumed that he was gay.
Yeah, this guy has no reason at all to distort the research.

Come on SciAm, how can you allow this to be referenced in your article without spending 5 minutes to do a Google search to do a smell test on the "research"?

4 comments:

Rebelfish said...

And then there's this song" by The Bobs.

Anonymous said...

really ive met like so many football players who are actually my friends who made fun of gay kids all the time, now 2 years after high school, like half of them have come out...

Eric Anderson said...

You are missing the point. These men are not gay. Just because one has some form of sex (or even anal sex) with a man does not make them gay. I am gay, and I have had sex with a woman, but you don't think that makes me straight do you? Also, this was not research that was supposed to be nor claimed to be representative of all football players. Where in the world did you read that. Instead, it was a specifically targeted group of once homophobic men, examined to see what would happen once they now had gay teammates. The results, it radically changed their attitudes. Now, perhaps Scientific American did do a good job after all?

Fat Knowledge said...

Hi Eric,

You are missing the point. These men are not gay. Just because one has some form of sex (or even anal sex) with a man does not make them gay. I am gay, and I have had sex with a woman, but you don't think that makes me straight do you?

Fair enough, I agree with you on that. When I was referring to them as gay, I really meant that they were having homosexual relations.

Also, this was not research that was supposed to be nor claimed to be representative of all football players. Where in the world did you read that. Instead, it was a specifically targeted group of once homophobic men, examined to see what would happen once they now had gay teammates. The results, it radically changed their attitudes. Now, perhaps Scientific American did do a good job after all?

I was harsh on you and your research, which really wasn't fair if all it was trying to show is that once homophobic men have gay teammates their attitudes are radically changed. I am sorry for that. But, that conclusion is not what SciAm used your research to show.

Here is what SciAm wrote:

Stress and the greater availability of same-sex partners may similarly contribute to the practice of homosexual acts among self-described heterosexual humans in environments such as the military, jails and sports teams. In a study published this year in the journal Sex Roles, Anderson found that 40 percent of 49 heterosexual former high school football players attending various U.S. universities had had at least one homosexual encounter. These ranged from kissing to oral sex to threesomes that included a woman. In team sports, homosexuality is “no big deal and it increases cohesion among members of that team,” Anderson claims. “It feels good, and [the athletes] bond.”

I see no way to read that paragraph without assuming that what you are saying is representative of all football players. To me, SciAm is using your research and your quote to suggest that homosexual encounters are common and tolerated not just in football players but in all team sports. If your research does not show that then I can't see how you think SciAm is doing a good job.

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