Assault Trial of Former 49er Kwame Harris Begins Monday

By NBC Bay Area Staff
|  Monday, Oct 28, 2013  |  Updated 1:20 PM PDT
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Kwame Harris Assault Trial Begins Monday

Former 49er, Raider and Stanford football player Kwame Harris, 30, faces assault charges.

The assault trial of former 49ers and Stanford offensive lineman Kwame Harris is set to begin Monday.

Harris, 30, faces felony domestic violence and assault chargers from an Aug. 2012 beating involving a former boyfriend in the parking lot of a Menlo Park restaurant. The incident is believed to have been sparked by an argument involving soy sauce.

He was expected to appear in a San Mateo County courtroom Monday morning.

If convicted, Harris faces up to nine years in prison.

Harris was raised in Delaware and accepted a scholarship to play football at Stanford before being drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL draft by the 49ers. He spent five years with the team before spending the final season of his career with the Raiders in 2008.

Harris' arrest outed him as gay, which prompted him to speak about the topic of gay athletes in professional sports. He told former Stanford teammate Coy Wire it was difficult keeping his sexual orientation a secret and took a toll on him, according to NFL.com.

"I didn't see those two things as being compatible, but now when I look back in hindsight, if I could have done it differently, I'd like to think that I would find the strength, or find the fortitude or the grace to make the hard decision," Harris told Wire. "You want to escape this despair, this turmoil. Maybe your mind goes to dark places sometimes, but I would just say I'm happy today. I'm glad I didn't actually ... that those were just ideas, that I didn't act on any of those things and it does, you know, it does get better."

The Associated Press contributed to this report
 

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