Over the past few weeks, despite photographs that would suggest otherwise, NFL free agent safety Kerry Rhodes has consistently maintained that he is not gay.
Speculation regarding Rhodes’ sexual preference first became a national story when beacon of truth and journalistic integrity, MediaTakeOut.com, posted some photos of him looking very comfortable with a male friend. In response to the pictures and that specific report, Rhodes contacted TMZ and denied that he was gay.
“Photos have been circulating of my former assistant and I that have caused some rumors regarding my sexuality, and I wanted to address the situation,” Rhodes told TMZ (via Larry Brown Sports).
“I am not gay. The shots were taken during a past vacation in a casual environment with my entire business team.”
Rather than Mike Piazza’ing, Rhodes handled the situation with a lot more dignity and class than other athletes would have. Given the testosterone-driven, ultra-macho NFL environment he operates in, it would have been understandable, albeit sad, if the 30-year-old (who on top of everything is looking for a job right now) would have been a little more vehement in his denials.
Unfortunately, even that soft dismissal of the gay rumors apparently hurt the feelings of the guy who Media Take Out suggested was Rhodes’ boyfriend. As noted by LBS, the man in question, Russell “Hollywood” Simpson, has opted to go on something of a media tour recently in which he has essentially outed his his alleged ex.
“I met Kerry about a year and a half ago when I went to Arizona for an assistant job,” Simpson told Baller Alert.
“…I got to know Kerry and we became very close. I moved in with Kerry at his home in Arizona. At first we were just friends and we were getting to know each other. Then we got into a relationship. We were in a relationship for a whole year. I was there, people knew who I was, they saw me as his top assistant. I handled everything for him. No one went to Kerry for anything.”
Simpson says he isn’t the one who leaked intimate photos of himself and Rhodes to Media Take Out, but, you know, draw your own conclusions about that.
Either way, it’s sort of obvious where all of this is heading. The pictures, while just pictures, do paint a pretty clear image. More likely than not, at a certain point, Rhodes will confess to what the general public already believes anyway. And while a free agent NFL player who is currently struggling to find a new gig coming out may not carry the same weight as a big name guy doing it, it's definitely a good start.