Physical assault outs former NFL athlete
Debate concerning the sexuality of pro athletes, and their teammates attitudes toward them
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013 05:03
On Aug. 21, 2012, former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman, Kwame Harris had a physical altercation with his ex-boyfriend Dimitri Geier outside of Su Hong restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area.
News of the altercation sparked reaction from NFL athletes including, Chris Culliver, 49ers cornerback. “We don’t have any gays on the team,” Culliver said. “They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.”
Up until the news of Harris and Geier’s altercation, Harris’ sexuality was never questioned. After Culiver’s statement, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh rejected the comments, “That’s not something that reflects the way the organization feels,” he said.
That sentiment echoes through the NFL. Former Tennessee Titans cornerback, Wade Davis, is an openly gay athlete who has been working with LGBTQ organizations and bringing awareness to the struggles gay athletes face.
Davis says that the team is a brotherhood, and they stand by each other, and whether a player is gay or not does not matter within the community.
While homosexuality is not a particularly common occurrence in the professional athletic arena, Davis says he knows of at least three athletes that are openly gay. “It’s just not talked about. He’s there to do a job. I’m here to do a job…he doesn’t treat me any different than anyone else does,” Davis told The Daily Beast.
Harris responded to Culliver’s anti-gay remarks on Jan. 30 by saying they were “vitriol and hate.”
After the altercation with Geier, Harris was arrested at his home, and later released on a $75,000 bond.
Geier has filed a suit with the San Mateo County Superior Court against Harris for undisclosed damages. He is also suing for felony domestic violence causing great bodily injury, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, civility assault, battery, negligent infliction of emotional stress, and more.
Harris has plead not guilty to the charges and his attorney, Alin Cintean said that Harris was acting in self-defense, and that the altercation only escalated after Geier struck Harris in the face three times.
Regardless of the nature of their relationship the charges against Harris are severe. If convicted, Harris faces up to seven years in prison.
Harris attended a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 28 and his court date has been set for April 29, 2013.