In an interview with CNN on Friday, ex-NFL player Kwame Harris opened up for the first time publicly about his sexuality and gave a look inside what it was like for a closeted football player. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Ex-NFL Player Kwame Harris Regrets Not Coming Out While Playing in the League
Ex-NFL player Kwame Harris said that in retrospect, he regrets not coming out as gay while playing in the league.
“I didn’t see those two things as being compatible, but now when I look back in hindsight, if I could have done it differently, I’d like to think that I would find the strength, or find the fortitude or the grace to make the hard decision,” Harris said.
2. Harris Played Six Years as an Offensive Lineman
Harris played for six seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.
3. He Was Outed in January After an Alleged Fight With His Boyfriend
According to NFL.com, Harris was outed as gay in January after an alleged fight with his former boyfriend over “soy sauce and underwear.” The former offensive lineman was charged with felony counts of domestic violence causing great bodily injury and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury at a Chinese restaurant in August 2012. The boyfriend, Dimitri Geier, also filed a civil suit against Harris for assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Apparently, the argument started when Harris accused Geier of stealing his underwear. Gaier said Harris tried to pull his pants down and then allegedly went on to assault him.
4. The Decision to Not Come Out Took a Toll on Him
“You want to escape this despair, this turmoil,” Harris said. “Maybe your mind goes to dark places sometimes, but I would just say I’m happy today. I’m glad I didn’t actually–that those were just ideas, that I didn’t act on any of those things and it does, you know, it does get better.”
5. A Current NFL Player is “Strongly Considering” Coming Out
News of Harris officially making his sexuality public comes as there are talks about a current NFL player who is “strongly considering” coming out as gay. CBS Sport’s Mike Freeman wrote on Monday that he was told about the possible coming out, but he was not told who the NFL player is. If the player does come out, it would be a landmark in NFL history as no football player has ever played while being opening gay.