Kerry Rhodes didn’t come out of the closet. During the offseason, in April of this year, he was the subject of a gossip-laden expose on MediaTakeOut where he was seen putting his arm around a man and kissing him on the head. MediaTakeOut speculated on his sexual orientation, and Rhodes vehemently denied that he was gay.
Now that football season has started, some wonder if his career is taking a hit because of questions about his sexuality.
Magary of Deadspin writes:
Look at [Kerry Rhodes’] career stats and you will see that there was no obvious drop-off in the quality of Rhodes’s play in 2012 compared to the seven previous seasons. […] Nothing about him has changed except for the fact that someone put up a picture of him with his arm around a dude. Rhodes has vehemently denied the gay rumors, and yet the mere suspicion of his gayness seems to have been enough to make him unemployable.
Kerry Rhodes is the only player in the PFF’s Top 30 safeties from 2012 that is unemployed, besides from a retiree, Ronde Barber, Magary reports.
To explain his glaring absence, some are claiming he’s asking for too much money or just doesn’t like football anymore. But since the sexuality rumors surfaced in April, Kerry’s received little to no interest from NFL teams.
If Kerry is indeed being blacklisted because of his alleged homosexuality, the NFL is sending a message to players to stay in the closet (and away from the blogs) if they want a career in the league. Isn’t that sentiment in direct opposition to the NFL’s Anti-Discrimination policy?
A portion of the policy specifically pertains to sexuality. USA Today reports:
It includes a section on questions teams cannot ask prospective draft picks and free agents. After the NFL combine in February, three players said officials posed questions relating to their sexual orientation.
Examples given of prohibited queries include: “Do you like women or men? How well do you do with the ladies? Do you have a girlfriend?”
The document also says “any jokes, comments or pranks” about an employee’s sexual orientation constitute harassment. Examples are “giving someone a sexual gag gift” or hiring a stripper for an employee’s birthday party. “Offensive or degrading words or phrases” and posters or screen savers of a sexual nature are also harassment.
Maybe teams found a way around it: just don’t hire (rumored) homosexual players altogether.