Here’s an unfortunate one-step-forward, two-steps-back scenario. As gays are serving openly in the military and the Boy Scouts are considering a teeny-tiny advancement toward allowing gay members and leaders in the don’t-ask-don’t-tell vein, gay men in sports are still overwhelmingly remaining in the closet. And now they’ve got the story of former Oakland Raider/ San Francisco 49-er Kwame Harris as an example of what not to follow. According to the San Mateo Daily Journal, Harris is charged with felony domestic violence and is being sued for assault and battery by an ex-boyfriend over an altercation that allegedly began over an argument about soy sauce and stolen underwear. Really.
In August 2012, Harris and Dimitri Geier, who were no longer romantically involved, their lawyers say, were having dinner at a Chinese restaurant before Harris was going to take Geier to the airport. Apparently Geier upset Harris by pouring soy sauce on a plate of rice. Which, again, this is really doing a lot to advance the public’s perception of gay men. The argument continued outside, where Harris reportedly pulled down Geier’s pants and accused him of stealing his underwear (OK, now this is sounding like a fight among sorority girls or something).
Things got more serious (and less ridiculous) when the two men came to blows. Apparently Geier threw the first punch, but Harris (who is 6’7″ and 270 lbs. to Geier’s 6’1″ and 220 lbs., according to the paper) hit his ex so hard that Geier needed surgery and a metal plate to repair his orbital bones. Harris denies the allegations, calling it a case of self-defense. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.