The sexual preference of NFL free agent Kerry Rhodes has been discussed the past week, and now the safety’s alleged ex-boyfriend is outing him.
Rhodes’ sexuality was first questioned by gossip/rumor site MediaTakeOut, which posted pictures of Rhodes with a “male friend” while on vacation. One picture showed Rhodes with his arm around the friend. MediaTakeOut said the photos made Rhodes look “suspect” as a homosexual.
Rhodes (pictured left), who played college ball at Louisville and has been in the NFL since 2005, addressed the photos in an interview with TMZ. He denied that he is gay.
“Photos have been circulating of my former assistant and I that have caused some rumors regarding my sexuality, and I wanted to address the situation,” Rhodes told TMZ.
“I am not gay. The shots were taken during a past vacation in a casual environment with my entire business team.
“I know a lot of people are recently talking about athletes struggling to come out to their fans right now, and I support them, as well as wish those individuals comfort.”
Rhodes’ denial only served to anger the ex-assistant, who claims he was also Rhodes’ boyfriend.
MediaTakeOut followed up their first story on Rhodes with more pictures of the two together, including one of Rhodes kissing the friend/assistant. MediaTakeOut posted that story on Monday, and then shared a video on Tuesday of the ex-assistant/alleged ex-boyfriend’s reality show.
The ex-assistant/ex-boyfriend, Russell “Hollywood” Simpson, then went on a media tour, likely to promote his reality show.
Simpson gave interviews to Bossip and Baller Alert in which he shared intimate photos of him and Rhodes and talked about their relationship.
“I met Kerry about a year and a half ago when I went to Arizona for an assistant job,” Simpson told Baller Alert. “Me and my friend Alton went to Kerry’s game. Kerry was injured at the time so he came up to our suite. He was interested in knowing who I was. He was looking for a new assistant and was interested in me and Alton. He wanted us to assist him.
“I got to know Kerry and we became very close. I moved in with Kerry at his home in Arizona. At first we were just friends and we were getting to know each other. Then we got into a relationship. We were in a relationship for a whole year. I was there, people knew who I was, they saw me as his top assistant. I handled everything for him. No one went to Kerry for anything.”
Simpson says Rhodes initially came on to him, made the first move to get physical, and told him he was the first guy he had been with. Simpson also says he was not the person who first leaked the photos to MediaTakeOut.
Simpson told Bossip that he was like Rhodes’ wife, and that other Arizona Cardinals players and wives knew about him.
“I was like his wife,” Simpson told Bossip. “I ran the household and took care of all his personal needs. If anyone needed anything from Kerry they came to me! That’s what Kerry loved about me. I didn’t take no s— from nobody.
“Kerry is kinda a dumb athlete, like a dumb jock. So, I took care of things that he didn’t understand. And yes, his teammates did know about me. It was kinda unspoken but I was at all his training camps and events. The other wives knew and loved me too. I was always there. It was no secret!”
Simpson says he and Rhodes were together for about 14 months. Since the photos came out, Simpson says Rhodes texted him and asked him to keep quiet about their relationship so it doesn’t hurt his chances of signing a contract with a team.
Rhodes is turning 31 in August and is currently a free agent. He was considered a strong playmaker as a safety for the New York Jets from 2005-2009 and was signed to a five-year, $33.5 million extension in 2008. Rex Ryan didn’t want Rhodes back after the 2009 season, so the team traded him to the Arizona Cardinals. In 2011, Ryan called Rhodes a “selfish, Hollywood type.” Rhodes played three seasons with the Cardinals but was released in March because he would have counted for $6 million against the salary cap. The Cincinnati Bengals hosted him last week.
No NFL player has ever come out while playing, though several have come out after retiring. Brendon Ayanbadejo recently said he was working with some organizations to encourage a handful of gay players to come out at the same time.
H/T Black Sports Online