Kerry Rhodes didn’t play in the 2013 NFL season. Lots of writers speculated that his continued unemployment had something to do with rumors about his sexuality and alleged romantic involvement with a male assistant that surfaced about a year ago.
Rhodes has repeatedly denied that he is gay, even going so far as reportedly telling former teammates in Arizona that he might have fathered Kim Kardashian’s child.
Not only is Rhodes still adamantly denying any suggestion that he is gay, but he also wants the world to know, in light of Michael Sam possibly/likely becoming the first openly gay NFL player, that Rhodes believes that he was not blacklisted by NFL teams because of rumors about his sexuality.
“I don’t think I was blacklisted,” Rhodes said during a phone interview Tuesday. “Especially with the NFL I don’t think they would do that … to me it was a product of me wanting to do other things and not finding the right opportunity.”
The Arizona Cardinals offered Rhodes a contract at the end of the 2012 season, when Rhodes was named the No. 4 safety in the league by Pro Football Focus. He turned that offer down, and poured his energy into a production company, acting in a comedy series “Good Cop, Bike Cop” and rolling out some children’s fitness initiatives with his foundation.
Rhodes thinks money, more than rumors, might have hampered his signing with a team, since he wasn’t going to take a deal that he wasn’t comfortable with.
Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, who played with Rhodes in New York and Arizona, said Rhodes got tarnished with the tag that he didn’t play hard, which Feely said is not the case. In his book, Jets coach Rex Ryan called Rhodes “Hollywood,” which alluded to his interest in acting and friendships with celebrities.
I suppose it’s good that Rhodes doesn’t feel like he’s been treated unfairly, though just because Rhodes doesn’t feel like he was blacklisted by GMs doesn’t mean that teams didn’t meet his contract demands in part because of those rumors. As we’ve seen from the Michael Sam story, there are at least some NFL executives who would downgrade a player for being presumed to be gay. They should really be evaluating on more relevant things, like how well you can drag your unconscious fiancee.