Fans in the Buckeye state celebrated as Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals earned their ticket to the Super Bowl after their victory over Patrick Mahones and the Kansas City Chiefs in the National Football League's AFC Championship game yesterday. It's the first time since the 1988 season that the Bengals have played in the NFL's ultimate game, but their fans should be celebrating themselves as well according to a recent study from TickPick showing they are the most LGBTQ+ supportive in the league.
The study by TickPick, a New York area ticketing exchange provider, used various terms and keywords to collect 2,390 posts from the Reddit forums for all 32 NFL teams over the 2020-21 period. The study revealed that 60 percent of all Bengals fan posts on LGBTQ+ issues were positive. Their opponent's in the upcoming Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams, ranked dead last in the survey, tied with the Carolina Panthers at 29.4 percent.
The same study has encouraging news for LGBTQ+ support within the NFL and all major U.S. sports leagues. Major League Soccer (MLS) takes top honors for being perceived by fans surveyed as the most supportive of LGBTQ+ folks, with only two percent seeing the league as "not at all" supportive, 56 percent seeing it as very supportive, and 42 percent as somewhat supportive. Next up is the NFL, with only 6 percent seeing the league as not supportive. The National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) follow closely behind at seven, eight, and nine percent respectively.
While professional sports might have been a hotbed of homophobia in the past, the league has seen historic change and progress recently. Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders made sports and NFL history when he came out as gay during Pride Month last year, the first out player signed to an active roster, and later made history again as the first out player to play in a regular-season NFL game.
The defensive end, who recently revealed he's in a committed relationship, donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, the LGBTQ+ youth support and death by suicide prevention group. The NFL quickly matched Nassib's donation, and later came out with the LGBTQ-supportive video entitled Football Is For Everyone.
While the Rams might have the least supportive of all the league's fandoms, they do have a bright and shiny new stadium that will host this year's Super Bowl, and their hometown did make our list of favorite LGBTQ-friendly NFL cities!
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