Kwame Harris, a 30-year-old former offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, appeared in court on Monday on charges of assaulting his ex-boyfriend during an argument over soy sauce and underwear.
Prior to the violent episode, Harris' sexual orientation was not common knowledge.
The incident occurred on Aug. 21, 2012, in a Chinese restaurant in Menlo Park, Calif., according to court records that gave the following account:
Harris assaulted Dimitri Geier, with whom he had previously been in an intimate relationship, after Geir poured soy sauce on a plate of rice they were sharing.
Harris then accused Geier of stealing and wearing his underwear.
Next, the former professional football player, standing 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighing about 320 pounds, grabbed his significantly smaller ex-boyfriend and attempted to take down his pants to see what underwear he was wearing.
Geier then proceeded to punch Harris in the face three times.
Harris, however, “seemed only to grow more agitated” with each blow, before in turn punching Geier in the face several times until he eventually fell down.
Following the altercation, Geier had surgery for broken orbital bones.
In addition to the assault and battery charge against Harris, Geier has filed a civil suit for emotional distress.
Saying Geier actually threw the first punches, defense attorney Alin Cintean told the San Mateo Daily Journal
that Harris simply defended himself.
"This really is a pure self-defense case," said Cintean. "He was attacked."
Cintean said the only reason Harris was being charged was because of the injuries sustained by Geier, adding that the civil suit was merely an attempt to get money from Harris.
If convicted, Harris could face up to seven years in prison. He is currently out on a $75,000 bail.
Harris, who was a first-round draft-choice for the 49ers in 2003, played 86 NFL games before retiring after the 2008 season.
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