CLEVELAND, OH--Quarterback Jeff Garcia has been dogged by rumors about his sexuality for years. The single 34-year-old now faces a new allegation, this time for former teammate Terrell Owens, who implied that Garcia was gay in an interview with Playboy. Owens insensitive comments have sparked outrage throughout the homosexual community, and organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD) have thrown their full support behind Garcia, even though Garcia would prefer they tone down their support and stop associating with him.

“I just want to say that the people from GLADD are very, very nice people,” said Garcia at a press conference yesterday. “They have supported me 100 percent, and always come to my defense when someone makes an allegation about my sexuality. That being said, I’d rather they just leave me alone. I’m trying to prove I’m straight here, and this isn’t helping.”

GLADD has made Jeff Garcia the modern day poster boy for gay rights. The organization has a link on its website where fans can send a message of support for Garcia, and has recently sent a letter to the NFL demanding disciplinary action against Terrell Owens. Garcia appreciates their kindness, but would rather keep a low profile in regards to his sexual preference.

“It was awfully nice of them to speak out on my behalf and call me the—ahem—poster boy for gay rights, but really, it’s a little much,” said Garcia. “I’m not gay, and I really have no connection with these people. I wish they would stop sending me letters and invoking my name. They should focus their efforts on players who actually are gay—like Kellen Winslow Jr. Just kidding. Kellen doesn’t have any repressed homosexuality buried beneath that macho exterior. Nope. None at all”

A spokesman for GLADD said the organization does understand that Garcia is heterosexual. However, he has been a victim of the culture of homophobia that pervades the NFL. Therefore, the group considers him on of their own.

“Jeff is a really perfect example of how professional sports tolerate, and even encourage, sexual discrimination,” said Steve Fischer, director of GLADD. “Why should he constantly have to answer questions about his sexuality? Does it really matter if he’s straight or gay? It doesn’t matter to us. That’s why we’ve adopted him as one of our own. He’s sort of like an honorary homosexual. A title like that should command respect in the locker room.”

The problem for Garcia is that the support of the gay community has drawn unwanted attention to his sexuality. He’d rather have Owens’ comments fade into memory than inspire some crusade on his behalf. Garcia is already inundated with letters of support from homosexuals, many of whom assume that he is gay.

“You should see the letters I get. People are so very nice and supportive,” said Garcia. “Unfortunately, I think most of them are missing the point, which is that I’m not gay at all. One lady sent me an email saying ‘Wear your sexuality with pride, young man. Be gay, be proud, be strong!’ It was a nice sentiment, but it didn’t really apply to my situation. One guy sent me a letter that said ‘As a gay man, let me say that I am right behind you all the way.’ Oh great, a gay man ‘right behind me.’ That’s a disturbing image.”

The most embarrassing moment for Garcia came when he received an award from GLADD two years ago while playing in San Francisco. The award arrived during another period when Garcia was subjected to rumors about his sexuality. GLADD publicly defended Garcia’s right to privacy, and presented him with its second annual Rainbow of Courage Award. Since he refused to show up for the ceremony, the award was sent directly to the 49ers, where it was hand delivered to Garcia in the locker room.

“Oh, that was a great moment,” said Garcia, rolling his eyes. “I get this goddamn package in the mail, and everyone is standing around watching me open it, and it turns out to be this award from GLADD. It was a big, gay rainbow with the word ‘GLADD’ written on it. I had to tell all the guys that it was a courage award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance. Then I had to explain to them that I’m not gay, they just support me because of all the shit I put up with. Anyway, I don’t think they believed me. Not that I blame them. I mean, I do have kind of an effeminate voice.”

As for Owens, he has kept a low profile since making the controversial comments about his teammate. However, he did comment before practice on Sunday that he wasn’t trying to offend anybody with his statements. He was simply speaking his mind.

“Truthfully, I don’t know if the guy is gay or not,” said Owens. “That’s his business. I was just answering a question posed to me by someone in the media. And I certainly don’t feel the need to take back what I said. I meant it. If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, it’s probably a rat. In other words, I’m a homo.”

Jeff Garcia Wishes Gay And Lesbian Alliance Would Stop Supporting Him
August 17, 2004 - Volume 1 Issue 62