(This story was published in 2007).

This is probably the strangest thing I’ve gotten to write about since St. Louis Blue Mike Danton tried to have his agent/Svengali/alleged lover killed. A picture has surfaced allegedly of New England Patriots running back Laurence Maroney sucking on the neck of a guy in a salmon-colored shirt, prompting some to claim that he is on the verge of coming out. Oh, but it gets weirder.

The picture (right) originated on Maroney’s own Facebook page, which now seems to have disappeared (shocker there). It was accompanied by some bizarre quotes that don’t seem to be English, including this one that some are pointing to as proof that Maroney is coming out of the closet:

“Your ass backwards if you chase hoes, chase the cheese they come with the shit.”

The assertion is that “the cheese” is men. Urbandictionary.com has a lot of “hip” definitions of cheese, one of which is in fact, “A good friend who is committing an act that steps over the line.” That would certainly fit the context. Another common use of “cheese” is some drug that combines Tylenol PM and heroin; given Maroney’s decent rookie season, we’ll shy away from making any connections to him there.

Other classic lines taken from his Facebook profile by various Web sites:

“wash u ass”

“bout time we got some construda in dis mothafucka”

“u begul shitting”

No idea what in hell “construda” or “begul” mean. Couldn’t even venture a guess.

The story picked up steam over the weekend when gossip site Media Take Out posted the picture of Maroney with their own assessment. It isn’t the first time the gossip site has fueled the flames of gay-athlete rumors: Last December the site announced that a New Jersey Net was bisexual and in a relationship with a man.

But what of this news? Is the Patriots’ starting running back gay and on the verge of coming out? Call me crazy, but my hunch says no. Even if the guy whose neck Maroney is sucking on is wearing a salmon-colored shirt, there are far too many innocent explanations for the picture. And call me old-fashioned, but I still don’t buy that Maroney would out himself by telling readers to “chase the cheese.”

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