Aussie rugby player Israel “Izzy” Folau spewed homophobia again this week, telling Instagram followers that “hell awaits” gay individuals. Unfortunately, hateful views like his run rampant in the sports world… but then again, a lot of athletes are allies, too. Here are 10 sports stars who play for one team or the other, starting with the five who have fouled.
After condemning same-sex marriage by comparing gay individuals to animals, this famed boxer offered an apology for the comparison on Twitter in 2016, then said, “This does not change my position against same-sex marriage. That’s what I believe. My only mistake is comparing gay people to animals.”
Speaking of boxers, this heavyweight champ said homosexuality “ain’t normal” and “is a choice” during his 2014 stint on the British version of Celebrity Big Brother. “The Bible lets you know what’s wrong and what’s right,” he added.
Hader, a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, had to face the music when Twitter users unearthed racist and homophobic tweets of his last year. “I was just 17 years old. I was a child,” he said at a press conference. “I was immature and I said some things that were inexcusable. It does not reflect on the person I am today.”
This Aussie tennis champ has been a vocal critic of marriage equality, even boycotting the airline Qantas for its pro-gay stance. “I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same sex,” she wrote in an Australian newspaper in 2017. “I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.”
This NBA alum — who played for the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat, among other teams — infamous copped up to being homophobic and hating gay people during a 2007 radio interview. To his credit, though, Hardaway later worked with the Trevor Project and advocated for same-sex marriage.
Wade’s 11-year-old son, Zion, attended Miami Beach Pride this month — alongside Wade’s wife, actress Gabrielle Union — and the 13-time NBA All-Star cheered him on from afar. “We support each other with Pride,” Wade tweeted. “Wish I was there to see you smile kid!”
This NHL alum — who played for the Detroit Red Wings and the Los Angeles Kings, among other teams — advocated for marriage equality and even joined the board of pro-LGBT sports nonprofit Athlete Ally. “Maybe it’s because when I was such a bully when I had my uniform on, that when I took it off I felt the need to stand up against the bully,” he said of his activism in 2012.
Athlete Ally’s founder is this three-time NCAA All-American wrestler who famously decorated his headgear with an HRC sticker. “This is only about how we treat one another, how we speak to one another,” he told HuffPost in 2011. “It’s not about politics or religion or anything else. I just want to create a safe space for people.”
After helping the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, this linebacker emailed activists to ask what he could do to “harness this Super Bowl media” to advance marriage equality and anti-bullying efforts. “I got to thinking about all kinds of things, and I thought: How can we get our message out there?” Ayanbadejo later told The New York Times.
Gay rights is a personal cause for this Houston Rockets power forward: His mother, Waudda Faried, is partnered with a woman. “No one can tell me I can’t have two mothers,” Faried said in a 2013 pro-marriage equality video.