Sports Stars Who Fighted Gay Rumors - Nicki Swift (2023)

Sports Stars Who Fighted Gay Rumors - Nicki Swift (1)

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VonJessica Sager/Updated February 20, 2023 11:28 PM EST

It seems LGBTQ athletes shouldn't be a big problem in 2017. Yet for many sports stars, their sexuality is kept secret, in the closet, or the subject of completely false assumptions. All of these stars have been rumored to be gay... and few actually are.

Michael Sam

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NFL hopeful Michael Sam came out as gay to his University of Missouri teammates in 2013, and later did soESPNas a "proud openly gay man" just before the 2014 NFL Draft, making him the first openly gay man to be selected by an NFL team. His decision to come out of the closet at the time because he "sensed that rumors were circulating," he saidNew York Times.

Despite his exploits, he now believes his coming out hurt his career, and he may be right: Sam was the first SEC Defensive Player of the Year in eight years to be taken out of the first round and up to the seventh round to the St Louis Rams to pick him up (and that was only eight picks before he went out completely). He was soon cut by the Rams and had previously earned a spot on the Dallas Cowboys practice teamto retire in 2015to focus on your mental health.

"I think if I had never come out and never said those words publicly, I would still be in the NFL today," he told the outlet.Sport RandPodcast in May 2016. "But for saying those words, I think I could have played a big part in my current situation. I know how to play this game, I can play this game... I don't know what's going on in the NFL with the guys running the game, but whatever it is, I hope it's not what I'm doing think... I don't regret coming out, but I wish things had been different.

Incidentally, Sam also hinted that his story is not unique. I'm not the only gay man in the NFL.said in 2015.

Jason Collins

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In April 2013, 7-foot NBA center Jason Collins came out of the closet and became the first openly gay professional athlete to compete in all four major sports leagues.

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A free agent at the time, Collins wrotesports illustrated, "I didn't want to be the first openly gay athlete to play in a major American team sport ... I'm going against the gay stereotype, so I think a lot of players will be surprised, 'Is that the guy? Cheerful?' But I've always been an aggressive player, even in high school... Loyalty to my team is the real reason I didn't leave sooner. When I signed a free agent contract with Boston last July, I chose Celtics and didn't let my personal life distract me. When I was traded to the Wizards, I realized the political importance of coming out. I was ready to open up to the press, but I had to wait until after the season." He also mentioned that his statement at the time "was made in part to keep rumors and misunderstandings at bay".

In November 2014, Collins announced his retirement and enlistedsports illustrated, "It feels wonderful to have been a part of these milestones for sport and gay rights and to have been accepted by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history. It has been argued that no team would want to take it on a player who would likely attract a media circus from the start and whose sexuality would be a distraction. I'm glad I helped put an end to these pranks.

Aaron Rogers

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Was Aaron Rodgers' relationship with Olivia Munn fake? A lot of people think so because the Green Bay Packers quarterback has been dogged by gay rumors for years.

said a sourceglory drivenin December 2013 that Rodgers was actually in a relationship with his roommate and personal assistant Kevin Lanflisi, citing since-deleted tweets from Lanflisi as well as local conversations about the rumours. The insider said, "Aaron has attended numerous sports awards ceremonies with Kevin, always color-matched and with no female double dates ... Kevin was also the first person to hug Aaron when the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011 ... There were a lot of bitter subliminal tweets in." on Kevin Lanflisi's Twitter lately, alluding to a relationship much deeper than any friendship he had...because Kevin has oneNeverHe once tweeted about having a girlfriend, mostly about the Green Bay Packers...Here in Wisconsin, there has been speculation for years that Aaron is gay.

After Rodgers and Munn split in 2017us weeklyreported that Rodgers was rumored to be touring the West Hollywood scene with actor Ryan Rottman and actor-musician Nick Jonas, and that Rodgers had made "drastic changes" and had frequent facials and other beauty treatments...thatTherese Owensthought important, one implication was that she bonded with the two male stars.

Rodgers denied the rumors in 2013, sayingESPN, "I'm not gay. I really like women. That's all I can say about that."

Troy Aikman

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In his 1996 bookpledged(throughSports news), Dallas, Texas, sports editor Skip Bayless wrote of Troy Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback: "I had heard the rumor on the street since 1991" was that Troy Aikman was gay. Over the next four years, I heard the rumor from two other officers who worked with the team... One officer told me that Aikman "should be" in a relationship. male member of a country western band."

The rumors were never substantiated and Aikman never commented on them at the time, which he regrets now. "I'm upset about it because it was made up and there wasn't anything specific about anything that was hinted at... I'm probably even more upset because I probably should have reacted at the time it happened," Aikman said.sports illustratedin 2014. "The advice to me was, 'Hey, just don't do it. It's not worth it.'" ... So I didn't. But he probably could have reacted differently and maybe that would have changed things. Maybe I wouldn't have done it. But it's ridiculous and yes, it bothers me. If that's a lifestyle people choose, then so be it. It doesn't affect me one way or the other. But it's not my lifestyle."


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In 2009 theNew York Postreported that New York Knicks center Eddy Curry was sued for $5 million by a former chauffeur, David Kuchinsky. Kuchinsky claimed the NBA star sexually harassed him and owed him $98,000 in unpaid wages. Kuchinsky accused Curry of frequently approaching him naked and demanding that he look and touch his privates, and allegedly forcing Kuchinsky to clean up the mess Curry allegedly left behind after engaging in sexual activity.

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Curry and his attorney vehemently denied the allegations, sayingLos New York Timesthat the allegations were "absolutely false ... I think that's just a great example of all you have to do is look at who you're around because that's a guy I actually thought was my boyfriend." The lawsuit was dismissed and submitted to arbitration.

Ryan O'Callaghan

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In June 2017, the former Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots went public in an interview with Ryan O'Callaghanoutdoor sportsHe explained that he first came to football to hide his sexuality.

“Nobody will assume that the great footballer is gay. So a soccer team is a good place to hide," he said, later adding, "In high school, soccer became a way to go to college. Soccer was a great cover for being gay. And then I saw the NFL mostly as a way to hide my sexuality and stay alive.

O'Callaghan went to great lengths to hide his sexuality from his teammates, even drinking post-workout coffee in a workout room to avoid showering with them, but ultimately his struggle with his identity as well as the physical demands of the job they took O'Callaghan for abuse of painkillers. He spoke to a clinical psychologist who worked with the Chiefs, then-Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, who accepted O'Callaghan and embraced him for who he is.

Although he eventually had to retire from his injuries, O'Callaghan was grateful for the NFL experience. "Being gay wasn't just a small detail in my life, it consumed it," he said. "That's all I would think about. But now that I'm out of the closet, it rarely crosses my mind. Yes, I would go on with my daily life of football but think about hiding it and hope that nobody finds out and." be prepared for anything The situation was exhausting".

Tim Duncan

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Legendary NBA forward Tim Duncan became the target of rumors about his sexuality when he went through a bitter divorce from ex-wife Amy in 2013. the blogDiary of a Hollywood Street Kingreported that Duncan had a relationship with a male classmate while he and Amy were at Wake Forest University, going so far as to buy the man a house and let him live with the Duncans for the early years of their marriage.

"Amy treated Tim like a slut throughout their marriage because she knew he was fucking her best friend," a source told the site. "Tim knows Amy cheated on him but he's willing to give her what she wants because he doesn't want Amy to tell the world she's bisexual."

The rumors gained momentum, but Duncan's teammate Danny Green saidThe Breakfast Club, "I heard [about the rumours] recently. I don't think [Duncan is gay or bisexual]. Timmy is Tim. I won't see him any differently. He's my teammate, regardless of his sexual preferences. I have' I didn't hear anything about it. And I definitely didn't suspect anything. He goes through some things, and that's what happens sometimes when you get divorced. It gets ugly."

Josef Selby

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In 2011, then-NBA rookie Josh Selby fell victim to gay rumors that were completely fabricated. Naked photos of Selby along with fake emails began appearing on various blogs, which unfortunately led to rumours, but observant observers were quick to debunk the story based on various loopholes in the story. Selby shrugged like a despised woman trying to get back at him.fallen, “I've learned my lesson, don't send pictures to a woman because if you've crossed her. They'll give you back twice the worst...People will do anything or invent anything to get you up to their level. That's not even my email. #Get a life."

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Mike Platz

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In 2002, then-New York Mets star catcher Mike Piazza reportedly dated weatherman and meteorologist Sam Championfake e-mails may even be circulatingthat Piazza had committed domestic violence against the bronze-blond weather forecaster, and aStorythat they were planning to have a love nest together on the Jersey shore. Piazza denied the rumor at a press conference.tell reporters, "I'm not gay. I'm straight."

Years later he also noted in his autobiography:long shot(throughComplex), "I found it very offensive that people would think I would go so far (live with Playmates, vacation with actresses, perform in nightclubs) to represent a lifestyle that would amount to a farce. If I were gay, I would be gay to the end." In fact, Piazza married Playmate Alicia Richter in 2005 and retired from baseball in 2008.

Ovie Mughelli

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In early 2010, Ovie Mughelli was a player with the Atlanta Falconsallegedly posted on a blogby an alleged ex-lover from her Wake Forest University days who was "tired of all the bullshit". Mughelli has never commented on the matter, but his attorney (formerlyreal housewives of atlantaStern Phaedra Parks)thisthreaten legal actionagainst the media that published the story.

Kerry Rodas

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In 2013, NFL star Kerry Rhodes was thereallegedly discoveredover an alleged relationship with a man named Russell "Hollywood" Simpson, who posted screenshots of text messages he claimed were from Rhodes after the footballer denied a relationship. When photos surfaced of Rhodes with his arm around another man, identified as his assistant Alton Craig, Rhodes saidTMZ"There are photos of my former assistant and I circulating that have sparked some rumors about my sexuality and I wanted to address the situation. I am not homosexual. The photos were taken during a casual vacation with all my shops. Equipment. I know a lot of people have been talking about athletes struggling to talk to their fans right now and I support them and wish them comfort."

Surrender to Rhodesmarry blonde stunner Nicky Whelanin 2017.

braylon edwards

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Although NFL player Braylon Edwards had children with at least two different women, he was rumored to be gay after teammate Will Demps said in an interview that Edwards asked him about modeling and acting opportunities.Seriously, this is it.

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Manti Te'o

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Manti Te'o might have been thatThe most famous catfish sacrifice of all time., with its tragic story of a mysterious and elusive friend named Lennay Kekua, who nearly died in a car accident and later contracted terminal leukemia. Kekua was Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's brainchild, after all, and Te'o's only interactions with "Kekua" turned out to have been online and over the phone. As a result, some began to question their actual sexuality. When asked if he was gay, Te'o saidsaid Katie Couric"No not at all.Farof that."

Karl Lewis

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Olympischer Sprinter Carl Lewis warIn his heyday, he was considered the greatest athlete of all timein the 1980s, but that fell apart when gay rumors began to swirl around him. They first caught on when she appeared in a Pirelli ad wearing red stilettos. He denied the rumors, but they still cost him endorsement deals with Coca-Cola and other brands.

billie jean rey

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Although married to a man at the time, tennis legend Billie Jean King was plagued by gay rumors for years before coming out as a lesbian. 1981, accompanied by her husband and parents at a press conference, Kingconfessed to having an affairwith a hairstylist named Marilyn Barnett, who sued King for financial assistance.

I would tell him laterthe London Times, "I couldn't get a closet deep enough. I have a homophobic family, a tour that will die when I get out, the world is homophobic, and yes I was homophobic. If you talk to gay, bis, lesbian, and Transgender you will find a lot of homophobia due to the way we all grew up. One of my big goals was always to be honest with my parents and for a long time I couldn't do that. I tried to address it but I had it Feeling like I couldn't do it My mum said 'we don't talk about stuff like that' and I got stopped pretty easily because I was hesitant anyway.

From there it only got worse. "I ended up developing an eating disorder that came from trying to numb my emotions.



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