At Outsports, we have run hundreds of coming out stories of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in sports. There have also been five prominent professional athletes over time who have felt compelled to publicly state they are not gay.
Outsports’ standard has been to never out anyone and in none of these five cases — Aikman, Rodgers, Kordell Stewart, Mike Piazza and Jeff Garcia — has there ever been anything but rumors attached to their names. Yet all five felt the need to publicly say they are straight (in Stewart’s case, as recently as last week).
This Sunday, I can guarantee that the two most-viewed stories on Outsports will be people searching for “Troy Aikman” and “Aaron Rodgers” along with the word “gay.” Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers play the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL playoffs and Aikman will be the lead Fox analyst. It happens every time one or both of them are on a nationally televised game.
While the rumors of these athletes being gay are in some cases more than 20 years old, their stories still draw attention. It shows the continuing fascination and perceived negatives to an athlete coming out.