Former 49ers and Raiders offensive tackle Kwame Harris spoke on record about being gay during his NFL career in an interview with CNN Friday morning.
Harris’s homosexuality became public when he pleaded not guilty to charges of beating an ex-boyfriend in late January.
He told CNN Newsroom that keeping his sexuality secret in an NFL locker room wasn’t easy.
“You want to escape the despair and turmoil and your mind goes to dark places,” Harris said of keeping his sexuality secret. “I’m happy today, and I’m glad they were just ideas and I didn’t act on any of them.
“The cost was great not speak candidly open about myself in complete manner,” Harris said. “If I could have done it differently, I would have hoped I found the strength [to come out].”
He also has a message for all pro-athletes struggling with hiding their sexuality
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 told CNN. “Don’t feel alone in having them.