Kordell Stewart is opening about how those 1998 rumors about his sexuality impacted his personal life.
In a Feb. 15 interview with “The Tamron Hall Show,” the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback spoke with Hall about the op-ed he penned for “The Players’ Tribune,” published Feb. 4. That op-ed addressed rumors that he participated in a lewd act with another male that circulated throughout the media at the time, eventually making their way back to the ears of the team coach and owner.
“It’s barbershop talk, is where it came from…I was raised in a barbershop so I know the talk that goes on in a barbershop just like you know the talk that goes on in salons. Sometimes it’s just conversations that you’re having. And when [Pittsburgh ‘local legend‘ Dr. Frank Sessoms] told me that he was ready to take his cane and hit somebody upside the head because they was running they mouth and just saying reckless things. ‘Your boy went to jail. I heard he got caught in a park, you know, having a lewd action performed on him by a gay person.’ “
“One, when did I ever go to jail, let alone, believing this rumor that is not true,” he continued.”I’m a straight man, always have been a straight man.”
Stewart went on to commend to late Pittsburgh Steelers team owner Dan Mooney for addressing the rumors with him directly and supportively when the news made it back to him. “I go in Mr. Rooney’s office and I say ‘Hey big fella, how are you?.’ He said ‘Hey how you doing?’ I said ‘I’m doing fine.’ He said, ‘Have a seat…You know I care about you. I just want to make sure you’re ok.’ I said ‘I’m fine. How you doing?’ and then I paused for maybe two to three seconds and I asked him, ‘Mr. Rooney, is this about some rumor?’ He said ‘I’m not worried about that, I’m not concerned about that.’ “
Stewart also detailed the reaction of then Steelers coach Bill Cower, to the rumors, which was, like Rooney, mainly a concern for his well-being. “I walk into his office and literally he looked like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. His nose was so red, his eyes were so watery,” he told the host.
Hall also addressed his 2011 to 2013 marriage to “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” reality star Porsha Williams during the conversation, asking whether the rumors, which were brought back up during his appearances in seasons five and six of the series, impacted his relationship with the “Dish Nation” co-host. “That never was the impact at all,” he insisted. “That was true love at the time. But once you start to get on the show and things are being insinuated from the conversation about beards and me being controlling, it becomes a whirlwind of things. Then, she has her world that she’s a part of and things she wanted to do for herself to the point where going our separate ways at the time…”
Stewart maintains that he doesn’t regret his ‘RHOA’ appearances, however, given the opportunity to travel back in time, he wouldn’t necessarily make the same choice. “Sometimes when giving of yourself unto your mate, you end up making decisions sometimes that can either make or break you,” he said. “To be honest with you if I had to do it again, I probably would not do it, but I’m not ashamed of doing it because I was really doing it for her.”
Watch below for Stewart’s interview on the impact of the rumors on his life.