Dennis Rodman believes that 10 to 20 percent of professional athletes are gay and says it’s time for more gay athletes to come out.
In all four of America’s major professional sports, there are no openly gay athletes, and Rodman wants that narrative to change. “I don’t know why people haven’t came out before,” Rodman told Business Insider while promoting ESPN’s new “30-for-30” documentary, “Rodman: For Better or Worse.” “It’s cool that people are coming out being, you know, gay or homosexual or whatever, lesbian and stuff like that.”
A section of “Rodman: For Better or Worse” details the former player’s relationship with the #LGBTQ community. While Rodman maintained that he is not gay, he revealed that he openly partied at gay clubs, dressed in drag and had sexual fantasies about men throughout his career in the NBA. The documentary also shows how the LGBTQ community accepted Rodman after his statements on sexuality amid the debut of a 1995 Sports Illustrated article.
Rodman said the Sports Illustrated cover photo of him in lingerie broke barriers between athletes and the LGBTQ community. “They didn’t know the fact that when [they] shot that cover for the Sports illustrated that that was the best-selling Sports Illustrated ever,” Rodman said. “And then the gay community started to reach out to me and said, ‘Wow, we never knew that our community can be represented like that in sports.’ And people didn’t know at the time that I was doing that.”
“I was, you know, doing all the drag clubs, I was dressing in drag. I was dressing in women’s clothes, I was doing lingerie, and stuff like that and people in the gay community started embracing me,” he continued. “If you’re gay, I didn’t give a damn.” Rodman went on to explain that he thought the photo and the news that #MagicJohnson was HIV-positive would ignite change. He added that Johnson’s status didn’t deter him from playing against the legend. “They asked all the players in the NBA, nobody wanted to play with him. They asked me, I said, I don’t give a damn, I just wanna play. I don’t give a damn if he got that.”
As he continued, Rodman claimed that 10 to 20 percent of all professional athletes are gay. “I wouldn’t be surprised, literally, I’ve said it all along, if 10% or 20% of people in the NBA, or any sports, [are] gay,” Rodman said. “I wouldn’t be surprised. It wouldn’t shock me at all. I think today, it wouldn’t shock anyone. I think that’d be more acceptable now than anything.” He also said it shouldn’t matter what your sexuality is, referencing a recent ESPN article about NFL free agent Ryan Russell coming out as bisexual.
“It don’t matter if [you’re in] sports or entertainer or actor or whatever in the world … Who cares? Okay. Who cares? You know, as long as he play and perform, does it matter?”