Kwame Harris, former NFL tackle, charged with assaulting ex-boyfriend over soy sauce, underwear…
Kwame Harris never planned on telling everyone he’s gay.
A quiet, private man, the former NFLer was outed after his ex-boyfriend allegedly put soy sauce on his rice and tried to steal his underwear. The former offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders allegedly assaulted his ex-boyfriend Dimitri Geier over the incident.
Harris faces criminal assault charges and Geier has also filed civil action.
The lawsuits revealed their past relationship.
At a California restaurant in August, Geier put soy sauce on Harris’ rice, upsetting Harris.
Harris then told Geier he was “going to throw his belongings” out of his car, according to civil court documents filed by Geier.
Outside, Harris pushed Geier and tried to rip off his pants to recover his stolen underwear. Geier swung at Harris, striking his head; Harris punched Geier in the face.
Geier “underwent surgery to repair broken bones around his eye socket and had a metal plate inserted into his face to repair damage.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court. Harris has pleaded not guilty to the criminal assault charges and a trial is set for late April.
This is not the way Harris ever imagined coming out, if at all, his defence lawyer Alin Cintean said.
“He’s a very quiet and introverted person,” said Cintean, his criminal defence lawyer. Cintean’s firm is also handling the civil lawsuit.
Cintean said Harris’ closest friends knew his sexual orientation, but outside of that, Harris just isn’t a public person.
“It’s not that he’s ashamed,” said Cintean. “It’s really just nobody’s business.”
Former Canadian Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury, who announced he was gay six years after winning gold in 1992, said Harris can find optimism in the invasion of his privacy.
“As hard as it’s going to be for him, it’s going to be in a strange way positive,” Tewksbury said in a telephone interview.
“It’s incredibly liberating.”
Tewksbury added the revelation may ignite discussion about gay athletes in the NFL and give some players the confidence to come out.
While several NFL players have come out after their careers ended, there has never been an openly gay active one.
Harris, 30, played for Stanford University before he was drafted by the 49ers in 2003. He spent five seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2008.
His former San Fran teammates have been vocal since Harris made a court appearance Monday, when his orientation was revealed.
“I don’t see him no differently,” said current 49ers tight end Delanie Walker, who played with Harris for two seasons.
Harris’ sexual orientation wasn’t known during his San Fran tenure, from 2003-2007, and it wouldn’t have made a difference, said Walker.
“If that’s what he’s into, that’s what he’s into,” said Walker. “I can’t judge a person for how he feels. Things happen. He was a great player.”
Punter Andy Lee emphasized players come to the stadium to do a job and check their personal lives at the door.
“To each his own, it is what it is,” said Lee. “You go about it and do your job and that’s what you’re there for.”
Cintean said Harris is coping with the revelation and focusing on his studies.
Harris is back at Stanford to finish his undergraduate degree and wants to be a physician’s assistant, said Cintean, adding he graduates in March.
As for the criminal charges, Cintean said Harris has been wrongly accused.
“He was the one being assaulted,” said Cintean.
“He had a reasonable response.”
With files from USA Today
thestar.com – Sports