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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kwame Harris, Former 49er and Raider, Convicted of Abusing Ex-Boyfriend

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 8:59 AM

click to enlarge A dubious milestone for Kwame Harris
  • A dubious milestone for Kwame Harris

Kwame Harris, a hulking former 49ers and Raiders offensive lineman, became a pioneer of a sort on Monday. The 6-foot-7, 300-plus pound Stanford alum was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence and battery by a Redwood City jury after he beat his far smaller onetime significant other in an August 2012 encounter. 

Sadly, reports of current and former pro athletes becoming embroiled in such situations, and coverage of their resultant appearances in immaculate, oversize suits during court proceedings, is a staple of sports journalism. What set Harris' case apart -- other than the fight allegedly stemming from a spat over proper table etiquette -- is that the victim was his ex-boyfriend

Harris' arrest and charges essentially outed him. And now he has achieved the unenviable milestone of becoming the most prominent American pro athlete -- and, certainly, the first NFL first-rounder -- to face legal repercussions for a same-sex domestic abuse incident.   

The troubles started for Harris, 31, and ex-boyfriend Dimitri Geier on Aug. 21, 2012 when the two shared dinner before Harris was to drive Geier to San Francisco Airport. The two were supposedly no longer romantically connected but still kept up as friends. That would soon change, thanks to a soy sauce-related faux pas. Per the San Mateo Daily Journal: 

...The conflict heated up when Harris and Dimitri Geier met at Su Hong restaurant in Menlo Park in August:

Harris was to drive Geier to San Francisco International Airport but instead became upset when he poured soy sauce on a plate of rice, according to the suit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court. 

The men argued for approximately seven minutes and Harris said he would no longer take Geier to the airport, the suit states.

As the men left to remove Geier's belongings from Harris' car so that he could instead take a cab, Harris tried pulling the other man's pants down and accused him of stealing his underwear, according to the suit.

Both men also accused the other of throwing the first punch. Geier refused to testify in the recently concluded case, but the jury weighed against his larger and more prominent ex-beau. Harris' attorney, Alin Cintean, told gathered media an appeal is likely. 

Either way, Harris' life has been changed forever. A desperate search for silver linings would highlight the increased attention to the plight of gay athletes. Or it could mark some strange kind of egalitarian progress in society's response to an athlete's off-field domestic violence issues, regardless of the victim. 

But, mostly, it seems like a sad and personal tragedy. It's a milestone -- but it's also a millstone. 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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