Kwame Harris spent six seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49′ers and the Oakland Raiders. During that time, he kept the nature of his sexuality a secret. But a January altercation with an ex-boyfriend that led to an arrest, put his sexual preference front and center for the masses. Now Harris is speaking out about his time in the NFL and why he opted to stay in the closet as well as expand on why he now wishes he would’ve chosen a different route.
On why he didn’t come out while he was an active NFL player:
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 would like to think that I would find the strength or find the fortitude or the grace to kind of make the hard decision.”
“I love football. Football provided me with some experiences and some opportunities that I wouldn’t trade for anything else,” Harris told Coy Wire in an exclusive interview with CNN that aired on Friday. “But at the same time, the cost was great in asking me to not speak candidly or be able to be open about myself in this complete manner.”
According to a recent report by Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, there is a gay player currently in the NFL who is strongly considering coming out publicly. The player’s concern allegedly is not the reaction of his teammates, but how the fans will react. I believe at this point in time, though there might be a few teammates not in agreement with it, most only care about what you can do for the team on the field. The fans on the other hand, especially older ones, will be interesting to watch.
“I want people — whether they’re gay athletes or athletes who are still in the closet or youth who aren’t quite sure of what their sexuality is — to realize that not only is that not unique but those feelings are common feelings,” Harris told Wire. “Don’t feel incredibly alone in having these questions.”