Time for an incredibly obvious statement: In life there are some things you simply should not do. You should not light yourself on fire and run at a gas station. You should not play chicken with a cop car. You should not try to fight a grizzly bear with a throw-pillow. You should not hunt a beloved lion. Similarly, you should not make homophobic comments, especially when there is a microphone in front of your face.
Plenty of people have and still do. Furthermore, here in year 2015, there is no need for a microphone, Twitter is now everyone's personal method to speak to the world. It has created a completely new dimension through which homophobia and other examples of ignorance can be identified and shamed.
With all this in mind, athletes still make homophobic comments in interviews and via Twitter and other social media outlets. It's not particularly surprising, because plenty of athletes are egomaniacs and think they can do no wrong, so when they tell an edgy joke and everyone blows their proverbial stack, they think they're the victim.
Anyone who has ever played amateur sports knows what the language and atmosphere can be like. The choice derogatory slurs are commonplace and cover everything from race to sexual orientation. Things are gradually changing but the world of sports still has an aggressive and insensitive side that accompanies ruthless competition and a desire to be the best. With that said, the sports world needs to realize what many of the rest of us know: you can think whatever hateful stuff you want about whatever group(s) but saying it out loud is when society has a problem with it. Here is our list of twenty athletes who have demonstrated textbook homophobia.
21 Honorable Mention: Matt Mitrione
This may be a dishonorable mention and it isn't directly homophobic, but Matt Mitrione lived up to his nickname "meathead" when he went off on transgender fighter Fallon Fox in 2013. He called her a "lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak" for wanting to fight in women's MMA, alleging she did so, while continuing to have the build of a man, and was simply a male who wanted to dominate and brutalize females. Mitrione also referred to Fox using all male pronouns, which is a significant faux-pas.
20 Manny Pacquiao
19 Brandon Spikes
At this point in his career it is unclear whether linebacker Brandon Spikes will play another down in the NFL. Between legal issues and on-field discipline concerns, he is considered somewhat of a liability. Furthermore he isn't quite good enough for owners and coaches to look past these issues.
He made a homophobic remark back in 2012 when he tweeted:
I’m homophobic just like I’m arachnophobic.I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub !— BrandonSpikes55 (@brandonspikes55) October 10, 2012
18 Ravel Morrison
17 Allen Iverson
16 Federico Macheda
15 DeSean Jackson
14 Amar'e Stoudemire
13 Julian Tavarez
This Dominican pitcher who played for eleven teams in a seventeen year career is widely considered to have been one of the most unpleasant players of his era. He was a locker room cancer and not a team player by any means, but had a pretty solid arm.
12 Kobe Bryant
While the 20-year NBA veteran may be one of the best of his time (maybe all time), he has a shockingly poor record when it comes to public relations. There was the sexual assault case, obviously, but he also made a few anti-gay slurs and comments. His most notorious occurred when he called a game official a gay slur during a game back in 2011. He was fined $100,000 for the incident and issued an apology.
11 Garrison Hearst
10 Manny Smith
9 David Tyree
8 Nile Ranger
7 Chris Culliver
Former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver made a controversial statement about homosexuals back in 2013, when the 49ers were on their way to the Super Bowl. Comedian Artie Lange asked him whether there were any gays on the team, to which Culliver responded "No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.... Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can't be…in the locker room man. Nah."
6 Goran Ivanisevic
5 Lee Steele
4 Jason Williams
3 John Rocker
You can't talk about offensive, ignorant athletes without mentioning John Rocker. The former Atlanta Brave had the most ridiculously prejudicial outburst in sports history back in 1999. He was asked if he'd ever play in New York and belched out the following nonsense.
"I'd retire first. It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?"
2 Brock Lesnar
1 Tim Hardaway
Former All-Star point guard Tim Hardaway is now known as somewhat of a gay right activist. He was the first to sign a petition in Florida to allow gay marriage. This occurred in 2014. Seven years prior, however, he made the most homophobic public statement of any athlete in recent memory. In 2007, shortly after former player John Amaechi came out, Hardaway said "Well, you know I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."
Of course, while this is a pretty brutal thing to say, many have accepted his change of heart and noted his dedication to educating himself and others in issues of homosexuality and gay rights.
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