According to The Guardian, at least eight players in the English Premier League have revealed to their teammates that they are gay, but have refused to go public in fear of the backlash they may receive from fans and media.
Those eight players have reportedly gained considerable support from their teammates since coming out in the locker room.
The last British professional soccer player to reveal he was gay and still continue his career was Justin Fashanu in 1990. Fashanu played for four more years before tragically committing suicide at the age of 37. Fashanu cited “heavy damage” from the backlash he received for coming out as the primary cause.
More from The Guardian:
Chris Basiurski, chair of the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, said that, although progressive attitudes had begun to infiltrate the dressing room, the fear of how supporters would react remained a problem.
“The danger is not so much coming out, but what happens next,” he said. “One of the problems Justin Fashanu found was that he was the first black millionaire player, and a lot of things were expected of him on the pitch at Nottingham Forest and it didn’t really work out. When that happened, the dressing room and the management used his sexuality as a thing to bash him with.”
Basiurski said the organisation had heard reports of professional players whose sexuality was a secret guarded inside the game: “We have anecdotal evidence that players are out within their clubs and don’t have a problem. But we are trying to create an atmosphere for people to come out safely, but at the moment there is a big barrier. The fact is, we have never really tested the fans, both home or away, on this.
“The danger is what happens when a player comes out and gets loads of support and attention, but then start playing badly. The worry is that fans will start getting on their backs and they may lose the confidence of their manager and it could be connected to their sexuality.”
The news comes nearly one week after NBA veteran Jason Collins became the first player from a United States professional sports league to publicly reveal that he was gay.
Days after Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay professional athlete in a major sport, talking heads have been quick to debate the significance of the action. In the real world, however, fans have been eager to let their money do the talking for them.
The Washington Post’s reports sales of Collins Washington Wizards jerseys have dominated the franchise’s “personalized” section in its online store. Every single personalized jersey sold at the Wizard’s store Monday was reportedly a “Collins 98″ garment.
Collins’ number, 98, is no accident, a fact that’s only recently come to light. In a Sports Illustrated article published Monday, the athlete reveals he selected the jersey number as a secret and “small gesture of solidarity” with the gay community. With his choice, Collins subtly honors Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old Wyoming college student who was kidnapped, brutally beaten and left for dead in 1998.
“When I put on my jersey,” Collins writes, “I was making a statement to myself, my family and my friends.”
Once tabbed as the heir apparent to Erin Andrews, Jenn Brown has left ESPN as reported by Sports Illustrated. The reasons for her departure are still unclear, but ESPN confirmed Brown is no longer working for Bristol.
Brown joined ESPN in February 2010, and when Andrews left the mothership last summer, it seemed like Brown would be taking over her role as ESPN’s most visible sideline reporter. But then that gig went to Samantha Ponder, who took over Thursday night sideline reporting duties on ESPN as well as Andrews’ old spot on the College Gameday set. Brown was paired with Dave Pasch and Bob Griese, generally calling the early game on ESPN.
Brown’s future is currently unknown. Brown seemed to slowly fade from the spotlight in recent months and with the nice jobs ESPNers have picked up elsewhere (Michelle Beadle at NBC, Erin Andrews at Fox, Rachel Nichols at CNN), perhaps the grass was greener elsewhere.
Michelle Jenneke, who you can get to know HERE, posed for the swimsuit edition and she looked wonderful doing so. The behind the scenes shows off Jenneke during her shoot for her appearance in this years Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
Katherine Webb nearly broke the Internet a few weeks ago when she surfaced during the BCS National Championship game, and she seems to have done it again. The girlfriend of A.J. McCarron did a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated and it is absolutely wonderful. All photos were photographed by Troy Robertson.
Just like the Alabama Crimson Tide did in college football, Kate Upton goes back to back as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover model.
Katherine Webb, Miss Alabama USA and girlfriend of Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron, will be appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue this year.
“Every single model wants to be in Sports Illustrated, and I feel extremely blessed to have that opportunity,” Webb said in an interview with SI Friday. The 2013 swimsuit issue is on sale the week of Feb. 11.
Webb skyrocketed to fame after cameras honed in on her as she sat with McCarron’s mother at the BCS Championship Game Jan 7. Sportscaster Brent Musbuger took notice on-air, and Webb’s Twitter devotees took off, soon topping more than 200,000.
While her instant fame created a few awkward moments, Webb told Sports Illustrated that she was “completely dumbfounded” when she got the call to appear in the famous swimsuit issue. She aslo indicated that she wouldn’t let her sudden fame compromise her image.
“I’m from Alabama and I have morals and I have class. That’s my personality. A lot of people have said I’m the anti-Kim Kardashian and I’m all right with that,” Webb told SI. “I want girls to be able to look up to me and to say, ‘I want to be just like her one day.’”
When a man turns 50 it is probably time to take off the gloves or at least that is the way former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is approaching things. Holyfield turns 50 on Friday and is expected to announce his retirement from boxing.
This time it seems to be the “Real Deal” and no faith healer will bring him back from any heart problems.
“The game’s been good to me and I hope I’ve been good to the game,” Holyfield told Sports Illustrated. “I’m 50 years old and I’ve pretty much did everything that I wanted to do in boxing.”
Holyfield is 44-10-2 and while many will remember him for having his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson, he is was one of the most popular heavyweight champions of the past half-century.
His victories include beating Tyson twice along with wins against George Foreman, Riddick Bowe, James Douglas and Larry Holmes.
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in an extensive interview with Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, didn’t rule out the possibility of a strike out of concern for player safety.
“In America it is the employer’s obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible,” Smith said in an interview published Tuesday. “We believe that if the National Football League fails in that obligation we reserve the right to seek any relief that we believe is appropriate.
“The NFL has chosen to prevent the very officials that they have trained, championed and cultivated for decades to be on the field to protect players and — by their own admission — further our goal of enhanced safety. That is absurd on its face.”
“One, the players and the league have made tremendous strides in trying to make the game safer over the last three years,” Smith said. “The second fact is, at the players’ urging, the National Football League last year gave the referees more power to spot and deal with a concussed or injured player. The third inescapable fact is, over the last 20 years the league has done everything to maintain an experienced referee corps.”
Usain Bolt on Thursday blasted U.S. track legend Carl Lewis for long-ago claims Lewis made about him.
“I’m going to say something controversial. Carl Lewis—I have no respect for him,” Bolt said after winning the men’s 200 meters final. “The things he says about the track athletes are very downgrading. I think he’s just looking for attention because nobody really talks about him. I’ve lost all respect for him. All respect.”
Bolt was asked why he was so harsh toward Lewis, who won medals in four consecutive Olympics.
“All the drug stuff,” Bolt replied. “For an athlete to be out of the sport and to be saying that is really upsetting.”
Lewis told Sports Illustrated in 2008 that marked improvement in the times of Jamaican runners, including Bolt, were suspicious.
“The reality is that if I were running now, and had the performances I had in my past, I would expect [doping critics] to say something. I wouldn’t even be offended at the question,” Lewis told SI.com. “So when people ask me about Bolt, I say he could be the greatest athlete of all-time. But for someone to run 10.03 one year and 9.69 the next, if you don’t question that in a sport that has the reputation it has right now, you’re a fool. Period.”
Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester is facing some off-the-field drama. The Chicago-based athlete and his family has been “cooperat[ing] fully” with police in the manhunt for Hester’s cousin, Antoinne Robert Hester, 22, who is wanted in connection with a fatal July 4 shooting in South Florida, where he lives.
Antoinne Hester is facing murder charges after police say he shot 20-year-old Bevins Bennett multiple times while inside a green Kia Soul on an expressway, then fled on foot, Fox Chicago reports.
Witnesses say they heard Antoinne Hester brag that Devin Hester was his brother, but the two are in fact cousins, Sports Illustrated reports.
Police have not yet identified a motive for the shooting.
Devin Hester’s last interaction with police also had him on the right side of the law: the Chicago Bear was reportedly cooperative with staff and police officers in a 2011 misdemeanor battery case after he was slapped by an Mount Prospect man at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Ill.
Reggie Jackson has been banned indefinitely by the New York Yankees after he made disparaging comments about Alex Rodriguez published in last week’s edition of Sports Illustrated. Jackson has been asked to stay away from the team.
Said Jackson, choosing his words carefully: “The Yankees think that the timing is not right for me to be around the team right now. When the Yankees feel that the timing is proper, I’ll return.”
Jackson’s comments questioned the slugger’s home run numbers after Rodriguez admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.
“Al’s a very good friend,” Jackson told Sports Illustrated. “But I think there are real questions about his numbers. As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records.”
It was in the same interview Jackson also said that Kirby Puckett, Gary Carter, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Don Sutton, and Phil Niekro shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.
Jackson is a paid “special advisor” to the Yankees and often travels with the team, but was not in Boston over the weekend.
Speaking at the recent NFL rookie symposium, Adam “Pacman” Jones talked about his wild days as a young player with the Tennessee Titans. Indianapolis Colts rookie tight end Coby Fleener, who attended the symposium, wrote a guest column on the event for SI.com.
According to Fleener, Jones told the rookies that he once spent $1 million in one weekend.
Even Terrell Owens was flabbergasted by that story, who according to Fleener’s SI.com column, looked at Jones afterward and said, “Man, you crazy.”
Jones, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, wanted to leave an impression at the symposium. He succeeded.
In Jack McCallum’s, a 30-year Sports Illustrated veteran, book “Dream Team” Clyde Drexler said Magic Johnson only earned a spot on the Olympic team and the MVP award in the 1992 All-Star game out of pity resulting from his HIV diagnosis the previous year.
“He couldn’t play much by that time. He couldn’t guard his shadow,” Drexler is quoted as saying in the book. “But you have to understand what was going on then. Everybody kept waiting for Magic to die. Every time he’d run up the court everybody would feel sorry for the guy, and he’d get all that benefit of the doubt.”
McCallum interviewed Drexler at his home and got the sense that Drexler felt snubbed when he wasn’t one of the first 10 players named to the much-celebrated team. He was added to the team later, along with Duke’s Christian Laettner.
McCallum said he didn’t feel comfortable writing about what Drexler said, but he stands by the quote and his book is due out on July 10.
Shyam Das was not fired solely because of his decision on Ryan Braun’s positive drug test, but it certainly played a major role, according to persons familiar with the decision but not authorized to discuss the dismissal.
Das, who delivered the landmark ruling that overturned a possible drug-related suspension for Braun, was fired by Major League Baseball last week as baseball’s independent arbitrator, a post he’d held since 1999.
As an independent arbitrator, Das serves at the pleasure of both the players’ union and MLB’s central office, and either party can terminate the relationship at any time. Both parties must agree on the hiring of a new arbitrator.
After Das ruled that a drug sample collector’s failure to follow protocol with Braun’s sample violated baseball’s joint drug-testing policy, Rob Manfred, MLB’s vice president of labor relations, issued a scathing rebuke of Das’s decision:
“Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field. It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.
“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
Players’ union executive director Michael Weiner expressed disappointment Monday at Das’s dismissal.
“Shyam Das has been served the parties with distinction and professionalism for 13 years,” Weiner said. “We think he’s an excellent arbitrator.”
Weiner said the union is conferring with the commissioner’s office to find a replacement.
On Monday, the AP reported that Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo’s 100-game suspension has been overturned due to storage and shipment of his urine sample. Monday afternoon, MLB released a statement saying that Alfonzo’s grievance “raised issues that were nearly identical to those resolved in the arbitration involving Ryan Braun.”
Das has been a critical behind-the-scenes figure in baseball, making several other key rulings in disputes between the union and MLB, and has drawn the ire of commissioner Bud Selig before.
In 2000, Das reduced MLB’s suspension of Atlanta Braves reliever John Rocker from 45 days to 14, and also cut his fine from $20,000 to $500 for controversial comments Rocker made to Sports Illustrated. Said Selig: “It completely ignores the sensibilities of those groups of people maligned by Mr. Rocker and disregards the player’s position as a role model for children.”
Five years later, Das ruled that Selig’s punishment of pitcher Kenny Rogers – who shoved two cameramen – was too harsh, trimming Rogers’ suspension from 20 games to 13. Das also ruled that Rogers’ $50,000 fine would be converted to a charitable contribution.
Kate Upton has been everywhere lately, not that many men are complaining. The cover model of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue appears in a commercial for Skullcandy along with Oklahoma City Thunder stars Kevin Durant and James Harden. The 19-year-old model accompanies the pair as they go about their routine for ‘Take a Supermodel to Work Day.’
Model Christine Teigen isn’t just a fan of Sports Illustrated when they publish her swimsuit photos but a fan when the magazine goes half Albert Pujols for it’s baseball preview issue.
Model and Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Kate Upton is back for her second MLB 2K12 ad and this time she’s the gatekeeper at the Perfect Club. Detroit Tigers ace pitcher and the games cover man Jason Verlander can’t even get into the club, not even looking like Randy Johnson.
According to a book about Tiger Woods that’s about to be released by his former coach, Hank Haney which he co-authored with Sports Illustrated’s Jaime Diaz entitled Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, hea writes that Tiger at one point had an obsession about the military.
“Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL. I didn’t know how he’d go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan . . . I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.”
“Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots, and did drills in a wind tunnel. Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee . . . One morning I was in the kitchen when he came back from a long run around Isleworth, and I noticed he was wearing Army boots. Tiger admitted that he’d worn the heavy shoes before on the same route. ‘I beat my best time,’ he said.”
And by 2007, Haney writes, the job of coaching Tiger became more difficult because of the burden of trying to break Jack Nicklaus record for most majors won
“There was more urgency and less fun . . . He never mentioned Nicklaus’ record, but it started to weigh more heavily at every major. And Tiger’s actions indicated he believed he had less time to do it than everyone thought.”
2K Sports hit a home run when they decided to select model Kate Upton to help sell MLB 2K12, their newest version of the series, as she has now also was been selected to be the cover girl of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Perfect timing.
Upton stars along with Detroit Tigers and AL Cy Young award winner, MVP, and 2K Sports cover athlete Justin Verlander, David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher C.J. Wilson, were she teaches them the fine art of the circle change up.
Kate Upton’s popularity has exploded since she made an appearance in last year’s swimsuit edition and was named Rookie of the Year by SI’s Jimmy Traina. Upton was revealed as cover model of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue during a taping of CBS The Late Show with David Letterman.
Hershisering or praying just doesn’t have the same ring to it or pull that Tebowing does. However it appears after Cy Young award winning pitcher Orel Hershiser is the man that brought it the sports forefront back in 1988.
Hershiser first struck the pose after defeating the New York Mets in game 7 of the 1988 National League Championship Series. That year Hershiser had the year of his life when he lead the league with wins (23), innings pitched (267), and complete games (15) as well as finishing the season with a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, breaking the mark held by former Dodger Don Drysdale. He also won his first Gold Glove and was unanimously selected as the Cy Young Award winner, with a record of 23–8 and a 2.26 ERA.
Not to be outdone as just a fine regular season he stepped up huge in the postseason where he started Games 1 and 3 as well as recording the final out in Game 4 in relief for a save. He then pitched a shutout in Game 7 and was selected MVP of the series.
Hershiser then capped his historic season in the World Series by pitching a shutout in Game 2 and allowing two runs in a complete game in the clinching victory in Game 5, winning the World Series MVP Award.
Hershiser is the only player to receive the Cy Young award, the Championship Series MVP award, and the World Series MVP award in the same season. He later received both The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year and Sports Illustrated magazine’s Sportsman of the Year award for his accomplishments in 1988.
So it pays to do Tebowing now and then.
The Los Angeles Lakers have gone from the leadership of a zen master to the guidance of a dragon master. The new coach of the Lakers Mike Brown recently revealed in an interview with Sports Illustrated his life long love of Dungeons & Dragons, the role-playing game.
Brown told Sports Illustrated he was the Dungeon Master for D&D games with his buddies and wrote all the strategies and character descriptions in the game for his friends. He once put together a game board out of plexiglass, using rulers and pennies to form combat zones.
The 41-year-old Brown still plays Dungeon & Dragons with his 14-year-old son, Cameron.
An upcoming biography of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman, Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, portrays the late Chicago Bears back as an adulterer and an abuser of pain-killers and laughing gas.
A lengthy excerpt from the book posted at SI.com reports that:
Payton was a nervous wreck on the day of his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 1993, because his longtime mistress had insisted on attending, and was staying at the same hotel as his wife Connie and children. The book says the two women talked after the ceremony, and Connie said, “You can have him. He doesn’t want me or the children.”
Pearlman quotes Payton’s agent, Bud Holmes, saying, “I’d see him walk out of the locker room with jars of painkillers, and he’d eat them like they were a snack.” The book says use of pain-killers increased after Payton retired, and that he “habitually ingested a cocktail of Tylenol and Vicodin.”
During training camp, according to the book, Payton kept tanks of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, in an RV. The book says he shared balloons of the gas with other Bears players, and that after retirement he kept large tanks of it in his garage.
Before Payton’s death from cancer and liver problems in 1999, the book tells several anecdotes of Payton behaving erratically because of his use of pain-killers. That included threats of committing suicide, according to Holmes and others.
The book will be released October 4. Pearlman, who also has written books on Roger Clemens, the 1986 New York Mets and the Dallas Cowboys.