Kerry Rhodes, former Arizona Cardinal, has been outed as gay from his former assistant and lover, Russell Simpson.
According to Simpson, the Cardinals knew about his relationship with Rhodes, and they were accepting of him. The other players’ wives treated him like he was a member of their group. He said he did everything for Rhodes and was his top assistant.
“I was like his wife,” Simpson said.
If Simpson is telling the truth about his relationship with Rhodes and Rhodes’ sexuality, DeadSpin reports that the implications for the NFL, inside the locker room, at least, are great for the LGBT community. If Rhodes really is gay and his teammates really did accept his sexuality, the perceived homophobia in male sports may be unwarranted.
However, Rhodes denied that he was gay, in an interview with TMZ. He said the photos circulating the Internet of him and Simpson were taken in a casual environment. He went on to wish well to members of the professional sports community who are closeted that they may feel comfortable enough to come out.
Rhodes is currently a free agent. No NFL player has ever come out while playing, but some have come out after retiring.
“Kerry is kinda a dumb athlete, like a dumb jock,” Simpson said. “So, I took care of things that he didn’t understand. And yes, his teammates did know about me. It was kinda unspoken, but I was at all his training camps and events. The other wives knew and loved me too. I was always there. It was no secret.”