In today’s society more people are more comfortable coming out of as LGBT than 20 or 30 years ago. It goes the same for athletes many athletes have come out in recent years. For example when Michael Sam came out before the NFL Draft he was criticized because some teams didn’t want the media distraction signing him would provide. At least that’s the reason they said. He was selected by the St. Louis Rams but he was cut before the regular season. After a short stint on Dallas’s practice squad, he went to the CFL, only playing in oner game. While sports have come a long way in accepting those of different backgrounds and sexualities, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
They’re are athletes today who still remain in the closet and won’t come out because of the scrutiny they could face. Athletes in team sports are further discouraged, because some teams view an athlete coming out as a media distraction. With roughly 10% of the population identifying as LGBT, there are many rumors floating around that many of these athletes fall in that spectrum, but have chosen to keep it hidden. Here are eight athletes rumored to go both ways, and seven who are rumored to be in the closet.
15. SWING BOTH WAYS: CARL LEWIS
Carl Lewis was a dominant Olympic athlete. He was a track and field star who won 10 medals at the Olympic Games between the years of 1979 and 1996. Nine out of the ten medals were gold. Lewis also has won eight World Championship gold medals and he holds many track and field records. He also went over a decade without a single loss.
The way Lewis dressed always caused questions to surface about his preferences, even though he was married. Some of his peers even thought he was a secret homosexual. Lewis lost some endorsement deals because certain companies didn’t feel Lewis was ‘macho’ enough of a male athlete to sell their brand. ‘They started looking for ways to get rid of me,” said Lewis. “Everyone was so scared and cynical, they didn’t know what to do.’
14. RUMORED TO BE IN THE CLOSET: MANTI TE’O
Te’o was a great college football player for Notre Dame. He led Notre Dame to an undefeated season in 2012, but they would lose the Championship game to Alabama. Howeve Te’o faced more of a problem than just the teams he was facing. He told the press that his girlfriend Lennay Kekua died of cancer the same day as his grandmother. He told reporters the news just before a game against Michigan State. However it came out that the story of his girlfriend dying of cancer was false. It came out that Kekua never even existed with the evidence pointing to one of his friends Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. People believe Te’o was catfished into the whole thing while others believed he may be gay and was merely using the Kekua story as a way of hiding his relationship with Tuiasosopo.
13. SWING BOTH WAYS: Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner has made quite a few headlines in regards to her dating life. She earned a lot of praise for coming out despite being a star athlete, and she was very open in sharing her relationship and eventual marriage to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson. Griner got an endorsement deal with Nike after she came out, marking the first time the company had announced a partnership with an openly gay athlete. However, their marriage didn’t end well, as both were arrested on domestic violence charges and were divorced after less than two years of marriage. Recently, Griner has come out and said she was done dating women, and it’s heavily rumored she and NBA star Anthony Davis have been dating. Interestingly enough, her ex was also rumored to be dating a man.
12. RUMORED TO BE IN THE CLOSET: AARON RODGERS
Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league today. He was drafted by the Packers 24th overall and spent his early years behind Brett Favre. He’s won two MVP Awards and a Super Bowl title. He’s been living the high life and if you look at his dating resume, you wouldn’t expect rumors of his sexuality to float around. He’s actress Olivia Munn, soccer player Marie Margoulis and recently he was seen cozying up to Danica Patrick.
However, his former assistant and roommate alleged that he and Rodgers were in a relationship. Rodgers quickly responded saying they were nothing more than friends and colleagues. Rodgers has flat out denied being homosexual, but his former roommate has been persistent in saying they were more than friends.
11. Rumored To SWING BOTH WAYS: MIKE PIAZZA
Piazza is a 12 time All -Star with a .308 career batting average 427 home runs and 1,335 RBI’s. He played for the Mets, and the Dodgers in his career. He fell short of getting into the Hall Of Fame in 2015, but managed to get enough votes to join the 2016 class. Back in 2002 however, rumors started about his sexually. Someone told the press there was a gay player on the Mets team. Being that Piazza was a big star on the team, fingers started to point to him. Piazza held a press conference saying, “I can only say what I know and what the truth is and that’s I’m heterosexual and I date women. That’s it. End of story.”
He is married to a model and actress Alicia Rickter they’ve been married since 2005 so the rumors of him being gay are probably false. Piazza addressed the old rumors again in a 2013 interview and proclaimed: “I was gay, I’d be gay all the way“.
10. RUMORED TO BE IN THE CLOSET: TIM TEBOW
Tim Tebow was the biggest story in the NFL a few years ago, but after a surprising late season surge with the Denver Broncos in 2011, Tebow’s career quickly fizzled out. Tebow of course is a very proud Christian, so much so that he has taken a vow of celibacy, waiting for marriage. However some have claimed that it’s all an act for Tebow in hiding his sexuality. It’s nothing more than hearsay and speculation and odds are it’s total BS. As for Tebow’s own beliefs, he’s kept several hot button issues close to the vest, such as his views on abortion or same sex marriage. There will never stop being rumors floating around about an athlete whenever they are single for this long.
9. Rumored To SWING BOTH WAYS: OVIE MUGHELLI
Mughelli drafted in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. The fullback would play for the Ravens for four seasons then was traded to the Atlanta Falcons then the St. Louis Rams. He was selected to two All-Pro teams and a Pro Bowl He had a total of 610 yards and seven touchdowns in his career. Rumors however started when pictures of what claimed to be his ex-boyfriend appeared online. The angry ex- boyfriend claimed that he and Mughelli had been living together and a relationship since his playing days at Wake Forest. It was reported that the couple were told to break up after Mughelli was drafted to protect his image. Looks like his ex was really upset by that and probably wanted to be in the spotlight too.
8. RUMORED TO BE IN THE CLOSET: CHRIS BOSH
Chris Bosh was rumored to be in the closet when he gave an interview. He was talking about fashion week and said “It was this one thing during fashion week: I had my legs crossed, and they called me gay,I’ve got my legs crossed, I’m chillin’, I’m getting my grown man on at the event. It just seemed like anything I did, it was always chastised or made fun of.” Bosh also said in a 2014 interview nobody would call him gay if he was a thug saying. “What am I supposed to do? You want me to have cornrows and tats on my neck and just punch somebody in the face when they score on me? It’s crazy. It’s impossible. I can’t do that and play. That’s never been who I am.”
7. Rumored To SWING BOTH WAYS: TIM DUNCAN
Tim Duncan an all time great for the San Antonio Spurs was drafted first overall in 1997. He has won five NBA Championships and was selected to the All Star game 15 times. Duncan was married for 12 years to his wife Amy and they have two children together. They divorced in 2013. After the divorce Amy started rumors that Tim was bisexual and he was in a gay relationship with someone while at Wake Forest. Amy also claimed that the man lived with them for the first two years Tim and Amy were married. Amy also said Tim bought a man a home but the rumors were never proven. Some gossip outlets reported at the time of their divorce that Duncan was willing to be very cooperative in handing off assets to his ex out of fear that she would out him as bi.
6. RUMORED TO BE IN THE CLOSET : BRAYLON EDWARDS
Pictures of Braylon Edwards were on the internet questioning his sexually. With those pictures came rumors of him being gay. The alleged reason he wanted to play in New York was because New York would be more accepting of his lifestyle. As we know, Edwards had some good seasons in New York with the Jets.
In 2008 while playing with the Texans safety Will Demps recalled a game when they played the Browns (Edwards started his career in Cleveland) telling Deadspin “Last year I was with the Texans, and when we played the Browns, Braylon Edwards asked me between plays if we could talk after the game about modeling and acting.” It seems like rumors seem to pop up at the most minuscule things with athletes. So being interested in acting and modeling makes you gay?
5. Rumored To SWING BOTH WAYS: PAIGE
Paige, despite being injured for the majority of the past year, made the most headlines of any WWE female superstar. There were of course, her leaked images and videos with other wrestlers and her tumultuous relationship with Alberto Del Rio. Paige has never outright confirmed that she swings both ways, but she has vaguely alluded to experimenting with women before. There are pictures of her kissing other women and of course, there was the moment on Total Divas kissing Rosa Mendes. It should be pointed out she turned Rosa away, but there are persisting rumors that Paige is open to having relationships with women. Whatever Paige identifies herself as, wrestling fans are just happy to see her back in the ring after a long-term neck injury.
4. RUMORED TO BE IN THE CLOSET: Kerry Rhodes
Kerry Rhodes, former NFL safety has had to come out several times and deny that he is gay, but the rumors don’t seem to go away. First, it was his former assistant who alleged that the two had a relationship. When photos surfaced of them on vacation, Rhodes addressed the rumors saying: “Photos have been circulating of my former assistant and I that have caused some rumors regarding my sexuality, and I wanted to address the situation. I am not gay. The shots were taken during a past vacation in a casual environment with my entire business team.”
As for his confirmed dating life, Rhodes married actress Nicky Whelan got married in 2017, but after just six months, it was reported the two were filing for divorce. You wonder if that’ll lead to more rumors.
3. Rumored To SWING BOTH WAYS: EDDY CURRY
Eddy Curry was drafted fourth overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He had a pretty good NBA career he averaged 12.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He was a big player on the Miami Heat when they won the NBA Championship in 2012. In 2009 however Curry sexually came into question when his former limo driver David Kuchinsky would file a lawsuit for sexual harassment and unpaid wages. The suit also said Curry liked playing with guns. The rumors really got nowhere because after the lawsuit was filed, Kuchinsky’s records came out that he was a felon and he just was scamming Curry to get money. It’s weird how someone’s sexuality seems to be used as blackmail time and time again.
2. Rumored To Be In The Closet: Josh Selby
Josh Selby has spent much of the last few years playing overseas, but while he was in the NBA, he spent time with the Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers. During his NBA careers, rumors surfaced that Selby was in the closet, either as a homosexual, or at least bi-curious. The rumors stemmed from an email being leaked in which it appeared Selby had sent some very suggestive pictures to another man. Selby denied it was him who sent those pictures, but you know how rumors tend to fly out of control. Being that Selby has now been overseas for a few years, the rumors of him have begun to fade, perhaps because he’s away from the NBA spotlight.
1. Rumored To SWING BOTH WAYS: TROY AIKMAN
Aikman was selected as the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He won three Super Bowl titles with the Cowboys and made six Pro Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame and College Hall Of Fame in 2006. Rumors of his sexually spread by Skip Bayless saying Aikman was gay. Aikman denied the rumors but Bayless stood by what he said saying “A number of the black players, with whom I was close, contended that Aikman was bisexual.”
In 2011 Aikman divorced his wife Rhonda Worthey. Aikman had some comments when Bayless was hired to Fox Sports, saying “To say I’m disappointed in the hiring of Skip Bayless would be an enormous understatement, I have a difference of opinion when it comes to building a successful organization. I believe success is achieved by acquiring and developing talented, respected and credible individuals, none of which applies to Skip Bayless.”
Whether Aikman goes both ways or not, is really only his business, so hopefully the rumors don’t resurface unless it’s from Aikman himself.
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