Out of the closet, into TV commercials?

Are Americans ready to see openly gay male athletes on their morning-cereal boxes? Maybe not yet, although they’re getting closer. A survey by Witeck-Combs Communications and Harris Interactive asked adults, “If a favorite male professional athlete revealed he is gay, how would this personal disclosure affect your feelings toward the athlete?” (Polling followed the disclosure last month by former NBA player and current HeadBlade endorser John Amaechi, shown here, that he’s gay.) Seventy-two percent said it wouldn’t affect their feelings, 24 percent would view him less favorably, and 4 percent more favorably. In a 2002 poll, 66 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t be affected, 30 percent would feel more negatively toward the athlete, and 4 percent would view him more favorably. Note that these are opinions about one’s “favorite” male pro athlete. Since sports fans spend half their psychic energy thinking ill of not-so-favorite athletes, AdFreak suspects many would be less accepting if one of those guys came out of the closet.

—Posted by Mark Dolliver