Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Kwame Harris appeared today for the first time on television talking about his sexual orientation. While it was his first TV appearance, it’s kind of strange that CNN positioned their piece as “Former NFL Player Comes Out” when he was already out. Harris was outed earlier this year when he was charged with assaulting his ex-boyfriend.

It’s great to see him open up. I’d heard that he wasn’t interested in being in the spotlight or talk much about his sexual orientation, so it’s wonderful to see him open up. His message to gay athletes seems to be: You’re not alone. Amen!

He said one thing that jumped out at me:

“I love football. Football provided me with some experiences and some opportunities that I wouldn’t trade for anything else,” Harris said. “The cost was great in asking me to not speak candidly or be able to be open about myself in this complete manner.”

I doubt anyone asked him to stay closeted. But somewhere in his head, they did. It goes hand-in-hand with Robbie Rogers’ comments today about how horribly homophobic his sport is…despite the fact that he’s experienced overwhelming support since coming out.

Sometimes I think the perceived homophobia entrenched in formerly closeted athletes’ minds is more powerful than the actual homophobia in sports.

You can watch the interview of Harris here.