clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ex-Steelers QB Kordell Stewart says calling him gay is 'defamatory'

New, comments

Kordell Stewart has been followed by gay rumors and speculation for over a decade. Now he's suing an 'ex-gay' reality TV personality over it.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart doesn't like being called gay. He doesn't like it so much that he's suing Andrew Caldwell, one of his fellow personalities on Real Housewives of Atlanta, for claiming recently that the two men "hooked up."

Suing Caldwell is an odd move for Stewart. The case will only bring more attention to Stewart's sexual orientation, whether he is gay or straight or bi or whatever. Even stranger are any claims of libel or defamation. Libel not only mandates the statement be proven false, but also carries the burden of proving damage to his reputation. And is Stewart really claiming that calling someone "gay" is defamatory? Is he really "injured" by someone claiming long-time rumors about him are true?

For years, state courts have said calling someone "gay" is not libelous or defamatory. When Outsports was sued in 2005 by a man claiming we said he was gay (we didn't), he had no basis for his suit because his home state of North Carolina had already decided calling someone "gay" (which, again, we didn't do) wasn't libelous. There's nothing wrong with being gay, whether you live in George, Massachusetts, Texas or California. Sadly, Stewart does not agree.

Quiet speculation has swirled about Stewart's sexuality since he was the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers 15 years ago. There was even a rumor that the Pittsburgh police had caught him with his pants down in a public place but worked with the Steelers to bury it.

Caldwell has since backed off the rumors, now saying he made it up. He also said that what he did say surely damaged Stewart because now his son might think he's gay. This is the same Caldwell who has said he himself is no longer gay thanks to prayer. He seems like a real piece of work.

I understand the annoyance of people thinking you're something you're not. I don't like it when people think I'm straight. But suing somebody over it? That's pretty bold.

Maybe Stewart can sue Caldwell for just being a jerk.