High scoring rugby player Ben Cohen has retired from the game and is focusing on his Stand Up Foundation, created to combat homophobia and bullying. Cohen’s father was killed in a nightclub fight standing up for someone who was being bullied, and has a huge gay following.

Last month, following the announcement by Phoenix Suns president and CEO Rick Welts that he is gay, Charles Barkley said in an interview with the Washington Post:

I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play…First of all, society discriminates against gay people. They always try to make it like jocks discriminate against gay people. I’ve been a big proponent of gay marriage for a long time, because as a black person, I can’t be in for any form of discrimination at all.

New York Rangers’ Sean Avery endorsed the Human Rights Campaign’s “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality Campaign” in an ad. Two Phoenix Suns players, Grant Hill and Jared Dudley recently  participated in an NBA public service announcement that denounced the use of the term “gay” as acceptable trash talk on the playground, while the San Francisco Giants taped a public service announcement for the “It Gets Better” campaign–the first ever by a sports team. On the heels of that, teenager Sam Maden–inspired by his Uncle Chris, who passionately believed in ending the bullying of gay kids and kids perceived to be gay and  died unexpectedly in January at the age of 43–has launched a petition asking his favorite team, the Red Sox, to make an video for It Gets Better.