Was Browns Quarterback Outed?

Wed. August 11, 2004 12:00 AM by 365gay.com

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Rumors have persisted for months that Jeff Garcia the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns is gay, now, his old nemesis Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens has weighed in implying in carefully chosen words that the rumors are right.

Garcia has always denied he is gay. The two were often at odds when they played together for the San Francisco 49ers. In an interview with Playboy for its September issue, Owens was asked about the Garcia rumors and the denials.

"Like my boy tells me: If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it is a rat," Owens replied.

After the Philadelphia Enquirer published sections of the interview Owens offered some clarification after the Eagles' practice on Tuesday.

He repeated his statement, but said that "everybody is going to make a big deal out of it -- but it wasn't like I came out and said Jeff was gay."

Owens then added that he'd heard Garcia currently had a girlfriend.

In the Playboy article, Owens was also asked what he would do if an NFL player came out.

"I probably wouldn't say anything right off the bat," Owens said in the interview.

"I'd just see what everyone else has to say. I'd probably keep my distance, and hopefully, he would keep his. If it was a guy who was helping us win ball games, hey, I'd have no problem with it. He can do what he wants to do outside of my everyday life."

Owens' comments angered the lesbian and gay community. "Terrell Owens needs to make a public apology," said Rita Addessa, executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Task Force of Philadelphia.

"[Eagles Owner] Jeffrey Lurie needs to demonstrate his own leadership and make it clear that he will not tolerate any public bias or bigotry on the part of his players," Addessa said. "He needs to address this matter." Owens' comments "degrade and dehumanize" lesbian and gay people, she said, and such comments "set up people to be harmed."

Over in Cleveland, after the Philadelphia story hit newsstands, Garcia's girlfriend, Carmella Decesare, was very much in evidence as the Browns practiced.

Decesare is the 2004 Playboy Playmate of the Year.

Garcia described Owens' comments as "ridiculous."

"It is really a waste of my time to sit here and to have to answer to such ridiculous, untrue comments that are made out there in the world today," Garcia said.

©365Gay.com® 2004

This article originally appeared on 365gay.com. Republished with permission.