National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Announces New Inductees

HallofFameSideProof3It's been almost a year since the first-ever inductees of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame were honored in Chicago. Included were big-name athletes such as Billie Jean King, Greg Louganis, Jason Collins, and Johnny Weir.

This year, on July 11, a new crop of athletes and organizations will be honored in The Windy City. Among them will be: baseball player William ‘Billy’ Bean of the San Diego Padres, British diver Tom Daley, and rugby player Mark Bingham — who is known both as the namesake of the Bingham Cup and for his tragic death on United 93 in the 9/11 attacks.

Football fans will note the absence of NFL newbie Michael Sam. While Sam is still green in his career, it's worth noting that the list includes three former NFL players who came out as gay after their time in the league ended: Esera Tuaolo, Wade Davis, and Jerry Smith (deceased 1986, a casualty of the AIDS epidemic).

While some of the most visible inductees are LGBT athletes, organizations (e.g. Nike) and sports businesspeople are also included. As are straight allies — deceased San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (portrayed by Victor Garber in Milk) is also included in the list. The complete "roster" of inductees, via GNN:

John Amaechi, retired NBA player;
 Mark Bingham, rugby player (deceased); Tom Daley, Olympic medal winning diver
; Wade Davis, executive director of You Can Play and retired NFL player
; Fallon Fox, mixed martial artist
; Brittney Griner, decorated collegiate athlete, active WNBA player
; Mayor George Moscone, straight ally, former Mayor of San Francisco (deceased)
; Chris Mosier, founder of
; Nike, corporation
; Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer
; Jerry Smith, NFL player (deceased)
; Stand Up Foundation, anti-bullying non-profit organization
; Gareth Thomas, retired rugby player
; Esera Tuaolo, retired NFL player.


  1. Rowan says

    And Robbie Rogers. It’s just timing. It’d be terrible pr and a wasted pr moment for them to give Sam one now. He’s getting bigger either way, so the smart pr move would be to do it next year.

    I assume Rogers also refused? As he is still playing and again he would want to take advantage of it when Sam signs for the extra pr and credibility.

    It’s a funny award this and seems to be done by a group based in Chicago who obviously thought of it first and as they were the only ones organised who were interested in sports, the LGBT community were fine with someone so unprofessional looking….happening.

    I mean if Sam or even Rogers were to accept, their fans, sports media and their colleagues would be looking to see what the big deal is…and it’d be like ‘huh?’ ‘You get this for just coming out right or why?’

    They should’ve waited but I guess no one contested because LGBT comm/mafia has never been interested in sports plus they probably did not believe in sporting people would actually come out like Sam did.

    Hopefully with a bit more money and brand management, they will look more professional, credible and glossy!

  2. robroy says

    Do we have enough out athletes who are similarly accomplished to merit these huge early classes? Otherwise year three will decend into waterboys, trainers and every male figure skater possibly ever.

  3. crispy says

    Why would Tom Daley and Gareth Thomas be inducted into a “National” Hall of Fame that’s based in the U.S.? That makes no sense. Just call it an International Hall of Fame.

  4. jjose712 says

    I think this kind of awards (gay or not) are better for people who end their careers.

    Why give an award to Tom Daley who is only 19 and has a lot of competitive years ahead. It’s not only about achivements (in this case he was a world champion and olympic medalist so he has enough credit as athetle).

    I remember some years ago they give the Principe de Asturias of sports to Rafa Nadal, and i thought it was ridiculous. Yes, he has the achivements (in fact he had more tittles than most with that award) but he was too young, he has a lot of tittles to win, and waiting more years to award him would give value to the award.

    Curious they give the award to Tom Daley but not to Matthew Mitcham, i know Tom is more popular, but Matthew is an olympic gold and hey, he came out first

  5. Jerry says

    Seriously. Almost every other sports HOF is reserved for players who have already retired. There are no active players in the Big Four HOFs; eligibility for even making the ballots is based on the amount of time a player is removed from initial retirement (five years for the NFL, MLB, or NBA).

  6. jason MacBride says

    jerry Smith never came out. Quite the contrary.

    Not sure what the criteria for inclusion is but athletic accomplishments don’t seem to be at the head of the list.

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