Kordell Stewart did not have to address this nasty rumor, but he still chose to anyway.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers QB has had a long standing rumor following him since 1998 about him being homosexual and that he engaged in lewd conduct with another man in a city park. For the first time, Stewart is addressing everything he went through back in the day in a new column he has written for the Players’ Tribune, titled “You Know What I Heard About Kordell Stewart???”
The now 48-year-old recounts in the piece how he first heard about the rumor and how head coach Bill Cowher and team ownership reacted.
“I could feel a change in the atmosphere right away,” he writes in the longform first-person article. “Maybe some of it was in my own head, but I felt like guys were looking at me differently…. I was hypersensitive to how everything I did was being perceived, you know? I was in my own head, and that’s not a good place to be for a quarterback.”
Stewart talks about how then owner, the late Dan Rooney wanted to make sure he was okay and after an investigation had discovered that the allegations were started allegedly by a local police officer. A few weeks later, the Steelers had just lost at home to the New England Patriots and Stewart says a man in a Steelers jacket called him “an effing N*.”
He thinks that rumor spreaded so quickly because folks wanted to see him fail.
“What killed me was that there were people in the city who really wanted to see me suffer,” said Stewart.
“Three years after I had my name dragged through the mud, three years after they threw beer in my face, three years after they called called me n* in my own stadium, I led the Steelers back to the AFC Championship Game in 2001. Nobody can ever take that away from me, man.”
He ends the piece with:
“You know what I heard about Kordell Stewart???”
Oh yeah, I heard it all.
But let the record show….
I took all the shots.
I took all the slurs.
I took all the slander.
I made a lot of mistakes.
But I stayed in that pocket.
And dammit, I did it my way.
Stewart started 80 of 113 games for Pittsburgh, as he racked up a 46-29 record and completed 1,190 of 2,107 passes for 13,328 yards, but threw only 70 touchdown passes and 72 interceptions.
“I always felt like Pittsburgh wanted to love me. But they wanted to love me on their terms. They wanted me to be SLASH. They were more comfortable with SLASH,” he writes.
“Maybe I was a little too ahead of my time, but hey, I did my part for the game,” he concludes. “And I have no regrets.”