Former NFL Star Glad He Is Now Out

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

Originally published on Advocate.com March 29 2013 2:19 PM ET

A few months after being outed by the media — after an alleged assault of an ex-boyfriend — former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris tells CNN Newsroom, essentially, that he's glad it happened (the outing, not the assault).

This morning Harris appeared in his first interview since being publicly outed and talked abouot the pain of being closeted in the NFL. “You want to escape the despair and turmoil and your mind goes to dark places,” he said. "I’m happy today, and I’m glad they were just ideas and I didn’t act on any of them.”

The athlete, who played five seasons for the 49ers and one year with the Oakland Raiders, admits he never considered coming out while an active player but wishes he had: "The cost was great not [being] candidly open about myself in complete manner. If I could have done it differently, I would have hoped I found the strength [to come out]." 

In the interview, filmed at his alma mater, Stanford University, Harris also says he hopes his outing helps other people.

"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," he said. "Don't feel alone in having them. I’m gay. I’m a former athlete. And I think I’m a pretty normal guy."