He shoots! He scores! From football and basketball to baseball and soccer, the world of sports is often considered one of the most testosterone-driven industries in the world! Star athletes are fueled by the desire to win in their attempt to take their teams and their careers to new heights. After all, who doesn’t love to win?
With high levels of competition and massive fan bases, it’s no surprise that athletes quickly find themselves as celebrity status. In what was once a game is now their career and their personal lives are on display for the entire world to see and, yes, even criticize! From the smallest of details to an athlete’s sexual preference, the media holds nothing back when it comes to dishing on their favorite athletes!
When NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay, he took the world by storm. When Michael Sam of the NFL followed suit, the world watched as his draft pick slipped into later rounds, finally earning him a spot with the St. Louis Rams. Needless to say, the world of sports is a male-dominated industry where being openly gay is unheard of. Because of this, many athletes who are gay or bisexual wait long into their retirement before ever revealing the truth. This doesn’t stop the rumors, however. We found 10 star athletes rumored to swing both ways that just might shock you. Are you curious? Let’s take a look as we start with one of the greatest Olympians of all time!
#10 – Carl Lewis
One of the most dominant Olympians of all time, track and field star Carl Lewis clinched 10 medals at the games, nine of which were gold, between 1979 and 1996. As if his Olympic wins weren’t enough, Lewis also has eight World Championship gold medals as well as multiple track and field records, one of which is the indoor long jump that is still intact after over 30 years! Deemed one of the greatest athletes to ever walk this Earth, Lewis earned fame after competing for over a decade without a single loss!
With his long list of wins, Lewis expected to get numerous endorsement deals but, unfortunately, the deals never came. While some argued that Lewis lacked humility, others fueled the rumors that Lewis was secretly gay, especially by the way he dressed (this was the 1980s, after all!). Despite being married, Lewis’ personal life was in question even by his peers. Dwight Stones, a high jumper, remarked that “Madison Avenue perceived Lewis as a homosexual” which hurt his marketability. It seems like this Olympian kept trying to outrun the truth, don’t you agree?
#9 – Kerry Rhodes
First drafted by the New York Jets in 2005, Rhodes was later traded in 2010 to the Arizona Cardinals where he finished out his seven year career. By his second year with the Jets, the safety was off to a great start and was named an All-Pro thanks to an incredible season. By his final year in football, Rhodes was still wowing the crowds with four interceptions and 58 tackles!
So, what happened to Rhodes? The Cardinals chose not to renew their star safety’s contract and Rhodes hasn’t touched a football since. Many believe that Rhodes was blackballed by NFL teams after a photo surfaced of Rhodes and his assistant, Russell Simpson, lying together in a shirtless embrace. The stories, however, didn’t align as Simpson said the two were a couple while Rhodes denied it. The damage, unfortunately, was already done and the phones went silent. Rhodes never received a single free agent offer in the offseason, which certainly hints that the NFL refuses to sign a gay player, star or not.
#8 – Ovie Mughelli
The football star spent four seasons with the Ravens before being traded to Atlanta and, finally finished his career on the St. Louis Rams roster. Selected to two All-Pro teams and a Pro Bowl, Mughelli finished his football career with a whopping 610 total yards and seven touchdowns with a killer reputation for blocking.
A football wasn’t the only thing Mughelli had to block when rumors erupted over his sexuality after a man claiming to be his ex-boyfriend posted pictures online. The angry and upset ex also claimed that he and Mughelli had been living together and in a relationship since Wake Forest. Apparently, the secret lovers were told to call it quits once Mughelli was drafted to ensure the newest football star could maintain his image. We can’t help but wonder what exactly caused the ex to spill the beans?
#7 – Tim Duncan
Considered to be one of the greatest forwards in NBA history, Duncan has won five NBA Championships and 15 (that’s right! 15!) All-Star Game selections during his long and illustrious pro career.But, life isn’t just an easy lay-up for this NBA star. Duncan and his wife of 12 years, Amy, divorced in May 2013 despite having two children together.
Of course, divorces are always messy and so it was no surprise when Amy began spreading rumors that Duncan was bisexual and was in a gay relationship during his time at Wake Forest. The rumors didn’t stop there, however, as the former Mrs. Duncan also claimed that her ex-husband’s partner lived with them during their first two years of marriage. Amy also claimed that Duncan bought the man a home but the rumors were never confirmed. Talk about airing your dirty laundry!
#6 – Josh Selby
Selby only spent one year with the Jayhawks before turning pro but, his stock dropped, causing him to fall to the 49th overall draft pick in 2011 to the Memphis Grizzlies. After two years in the NBA, Selby has since moved on to a global league with his most recent experience playing with Bnei Herzliya of the Israeli Basketball Premier League.
What could lead a hometown basketball star to play overseas? Rumors about Selby’s sexuality started shortly into his career when an email containing photos and text of adult matter became public. In the email, Selby claimed to be bi-curious rather than gay but, in the public eye, Selby denied ever sending the email and stated that he was being set up. While some believe the basketball star, others still have their doubts over this global dunking machine.
#5 – Mike Piazza
Not bad for a catcher! Piazza actually spent his time with several teams including the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The former National League Rookie of the Year was almost elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015 but allegations of steroid use have left this decision in question.
Steroid use isn’t the only thing Piazza has had to worry about during his career. Rumors of his sexuality spread like wildfire in 2002 when someone told the press there was a gay player on the Mets team. In an attempt to save his career and his reputation, Piazza actually held a press conference and stated, “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.” Since Piazza is now married to a former Playboy Playmate, we hope to goodness the rumors weren’t true!
#4 – Eddy Curry
With no experience playing college ball, Curry proved his poise in dominating the paint with an outstanding NBA career that lasted over a decade. Averaging 12.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, it’s no surprise that this star was a key player for the Miami Heat in their 2012 NBA Championship win.
Too tall to handle on the court, Curry’s towering height wasn’t the only thing that had fans talking. In 2009, Curry’s sexuality was questioned when his former limo driver, David Kuchinsky, filed a lawsuit against him for sexual harassment and unpaid wages. The suit also claimed that Curry was anti-Semitic and enjoyed playing with guns. Of course, no one paid much attention to the outlandish rumors after Kuchinsky’s mile long rap sheet as a felon was publicized. Who’s talking now?
#3 – Troy Aikman
The recruits were right when it came to Aikman, as the quarterback was selected as the first overall pick in 1989 and led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles while making six Pro Bowl games. Now the top color analyst for Fox’s football coverage, the former football star was elected into both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame in 2006.
Not everything was touchdown passes for Aikman, however. Rumors about Aikman’s sexuality began over 20 years ago as the notoriously annoying sportswriter, Skip Bayless, first suggested that Aikman was gay. Despite countless denials from Aikman, Bayless has stood by his report stating that “A number of the black players, with whom I was close, contended that Aikman was bisexual.” We can’t help but wonder who the former “Most Eligible Bachelor in Dallas” is spending his time with since his 2011 divorce from Cowboys publicist Rhonda Worthey.
#2 – Manti Te’o
Just ask linebacker Manti Te’o who, thanks to his incredible high school football career, was recruited to play college football for Notre Dame. Te’o proved his skills on the field as he led the Fighting Irish to an undefeated 2012 season before losing in the championship game to Alabama. A few days after the loss, news broke that the linebacker’s run for the Heisman Trophy wasn’t all it cracked up to be.
With trouble lurking in the stands, Te’o faced more than just his opponents on the field. Te’o had told the press that his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, had died on the same day as his grandmother, just before the big game against Michigan State. While Te’o kept the story going, reporters received a tip that outed the lie. In what is known as the “girlfriend hoax”, reporters discovered that Kekua didn’t exist with evidence pointing to Te’o’s family friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Many believe Te’o was “catfished” into the scandal while others believe that the football star worked with his lover to hide their secret affair.
#1 – Aaron Rodgers
Drafted by the Packers, Rodgers spent the first three years of his career sitting behind Brett Favre, which must have done the trick. The star quarterback has not only earned two Most Valuable Player awards, he’s also won a Super Bowl.
With a Super Bowl win and a ring to go with it, Rodgers was sitting comfortably and enjoying a high point in his career until rumors of his sexuality made the news.
After his former assistant and roommate told the media that he and Rodgers were in a relationship, Rodgers jumped on the defensive and told the media that the two were nothing more than friends and colleagues. Of course, having actress Olivia Munn at your side for every event does help dispel such rumors. Nice job, Rodgers. How about a touchdown celebration now?