We’ve all cheered on our favorite teams, rooted for Olympians, and admired how fast and strong athletes are. But did you know that some of your favorite sports heroes are also heroes for animals?
Jarvis Landry (Football)
Playing for the Miami Dolphins, Jarvis knows how hot the summer can get! That’s why he speaks out about keeping dogs out of hot cars.
Colin Kaepernick (Football)
The 49ers quarterback recently went vegan and feels healthier!
Tyrann Mathieu (Football)
Tyrann helped PETA show people how cruel and dangerous it is to leave a dog in a hot car by sitting in a hot car himself. He couldn’t stand the heat, and neither can our canine companions.
Griff Whalen (Football)
Wide receiver Griff stays at the top of his game by being vegan. When he stopped eating animals, he said, “I feel lighter and faster on the field … it’s helped me a lot as an athlete.”
David Carter (Football)
David’s nickname is “The 300 Pound Vegan.” The former NFL player is living proof that eating plants can help build strong muscles. We think it’s great that so many football players are plant-powered.
Chris Harris Jr. (Football)
Chris wanted to show people how cruel it is to leave dogs out in the cold, so he took a challenge to see how long he could last in freezing temperatures. When he finally went inside to his happy dogs, he said to them, “I would never do this to you.”
Ronnie Stanley (Football)
When Ronnie went to an animal shelter, he knew that he wanted to take home an older dog because they’re less likely to get adopted. And that’s how he met Lola! Now, he and Lola are best buds.
Georges Laraque (Hockey)
The hockey legend went vegan after watching a documentary about animal rights. “The stereotype … that big guys cannot be vegan and if you don’t eat meat, you can’t be strong … it’s not true! … I feel better, I feel healthier,” he says.
Tony Azevedo (Water Polo)
As the captain of the U.S. Olympic water polo team, Tony practically lives in a swimming pool, but he knows that orcas belong in the ocean. In an ad for PETA, he urged SeaWorld to free the orcas it holds captive.
Christen Press (Soccer)
Olympic soccer star Christen knows how important it is to adopt animals from shelters. She says her rescued dog Morena “changed our entire life.” GOAL!
Chase Utley (Baseball)
This all-star hit a home run when he adopted his dog, Jack, who was born in a shelter after his mother was rescued from a dogfighting ring.
Ron Artest/Metta World Peace (Basketball)
Ron Artest (also known as Metta World Peace) is super passionate about animal companions. He tells people to adopt animals—and never buy them—supports spaying and neutering, and urges everyone to speak out against cruelty to animals.
Candace Parker (Basketball)
Candace scored a slam dunk for animals when she spoke out against killing them for their fur. She also urged people to adopt animals from shelters and not to buy products that are tested on animals.
Wilson Chandler (Basketball)
When the Denver Nuggets star went vegan to help heal his injuries, he relied on a vegan friend to help him make the transition. “My recovery time is faster, I’m in a better mood, I feel more explosive on the court and I’m leaner,” Wilson says. His favorite halftime snack is a banana.
Mac Danzig (Mixed Martial Arts—MMA)
When we think about MMA athletes, what usually comes to mind is how strong and tough they are. So how did Mac, a former MMA fighter, get so strong? By being vegan, of course! “I won 12 fights straight after I went vegan,” he proudly states. He says that there’s no reason for athletes to eat anything that comes from an animal. So true!
Nate Diaz (MMA)
When he was 18, Nate followed the example of his brother, Nick, who’s also an MMA fighter, and went vegan. He says that it helped him become the wildly successful athlete that he is. “If anything, meat’s gonna slow you down,” he says. Looks like being athletic AND compassionate runs in the family.
Rich Roll (Triathlon)
It’s hard enough to master just one sport, but Rich is a triathlete, which means he’s a champion runner, biker, AND swimmer! He keeps fit by keeping animals off his plate.
Nick Symmonds (Track)
Nick has gone to the Olympics twice, so we know he’s FAST, but he was even quicker to ditch products that are tested on animals. He shares his home with his rabbit, Mortimer, so he would never want other rabbits to be burned, poisoned, or killed in experiments.
Scott Jurek (Running)
Scott is super positive about being vegan. His healthy lifestyle helped him break the record for the Appalachian Trail run in 2015 and be named one of Men’s Health magazine’s 100 Fittest Men of All Time.
Sage Canaday (Running)
Sage has been vegetarian all his life, and he says that it’s so simple to be vegan: “There are so many alternatives to things like cheese or milk, so making things like a vegan pizza is easier now than it used to be.”
Ryan Sheckler (Skateboarding)
Ryan is on board with being fur-free! “These are innocent animals [who] are nothing but love, and we’re killing them,” he says. He knows that wearing fur or any other animal part is cruel and unnecessary.
Paul Rodriguez (Skateboarding)
With eight X Games medals, P-Rod is one of the most successful skateboarders of ALL time. But in our eyes, he also deserves a medal for speaking out against cruelty to animals. “[A]nimals don’t have anyone to protect them, except for us to intervene and help them, because if we don’t stand up, then the people who are harming animals will never get stopped,” he says.
Peggy Oki (Skateboarding)
Peggy is the coolest: She’s an amazing skateboarder, she works to stop whale hunting, and SHE’S VEGAN! She loves that so many vegan products are now available and she loves the health benefits of plant-based foods—but most of all, she loves animals, and that’s the main reason she went vegan. Peggy says that she made the switch, “after realizing how poorly animals are treated in factory farms On the Way to get to Yosemite Valley for rock-climbing trips, I’d drive past a factory dairy farm. The stench was horrific. The conditions that these cows were kept under were disgusting.”
Austin Aries (Wrestling)
Austin claims to be the “Greatest Man That Ever Lived,” and since we know that he doesn’t eat animals, he’s definitely up there! Talking about why he went vegan, he says, “It doesn’t feel right to exploit other living creatures for my pleasure, because I’m proof that you don’t need those things to sustain yourself.”
Daniel Bryan (Wrestling)
Daniel doesn’t just fight opponents in the wrestling ring—he also takes on cruelty by refusing to eat animals. His impressive strength proves that not eating meat is healthy.
Tia Blanco (Surfing)
A two-time world champion, Tia is one of the best surfers riding the waves right now. She’s been vegetarian all her life and is now vegan. She decided to make the change after watching animal rights documentaries. “I knew after that I didn’t want to participate in why these animals were suffering anymore,” she says. “I think it has really impacted my surfing and my performance.” Cowabunga!
Hannah Teter (Snowboarding)
Hannah has an Olympic gold medal for snowboarding, and she also has a heart of gold! The vegetarian has spoken out against the Canadian seal slaughter, during which seals are beaten and killed for their fur when they’re just a few weeks or months old.
Kenneth G. Williams (Bodybuilding)
Like football players, bodybuilders are some of the strongest people alive. Kenneth loves to talk about how going vegan helped him build his powerful body. He says, “I would rather get my protein firsthand, through veggies, than secondhand, from animals. Animals eat the same things we eat, so if we kill and eat the animal, then we are getting the nutrients secondhand.”
Kendrick Farris (Weightlifting)
One of the main reasons why this Olympian went vegan was to set a good example for his newborn son. Some of his favorite foods are avocados, black beans, fruits, trail mix, and his wife’s spinach lasagna—yum!
YOU can go vegan and help animals too!