Former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris was abruptly ripped from the closet in January, just days before the Super Bowl, when he appeared in court over charges that he assaulted a former boyfriend. Though Harris can’t change his past, he’s now using his experience and voice to tell other closeted individuals, especially athletes. to come out of the closet.
“I love football. Football provided me with some experiences and some opportunities that I wouldn’t trade for anything else, 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,” Harris said during a recent CNN interview.
“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. “You want to escape this despair, this turmoil. 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.”
“I want people, whether gay athletes, athletes still in the closet, or youths who are not sure what their sexuality is to know those are common feelings,” Harris added. “Don’t feel alone in having them.”
Now that’s sage advice from a man who’s truly earned his wisdom and learned the power of self-acceptance. Check out some other pro athletes who have come out as well below.