Many of you no doubt remember when the rumor hit that one of the New Jersey Nets players was gay. The rumor was that he was a prominent member of the team (so it seems safe to say Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, or Jason Kidd). Also, "The NBA player, who is African American, has been linked to a number of women in the past - all of whom are Caucasian. He is also known for enjoying the night life with his teammates and good friend Tyson Beckford. For legal reasons, MediaTakeOut.com has decided not to print the name of the player."
Suspicion immediately centered on Richard Jefferson; after all, Jason Kidd was in the middle of a divorce, and Vince Carter was married to a black woman. However, there was some interesting evidence that I found from Adrian Wojnarowski that the rumor itself was planted from Joumana Kidd:
"Around the organization, they believe Joumana plans to deliver damaging information on Jason and possibly his teammates. This could test the limits of locker room peace and the rush of a resurgent Nets season." and
"As the Kidd marriage dissolved in recent months, there was one Net who told people that he believed Joumana was responsible for spreading falsehood stories about his lifestyle...In the end, he didn't have proof – just sharp suspicions."
Nets fan blogs appear split. El Friends Du Nenad also noted that it appeared Joumana was behind the rumor. However, in June gigginonya had a different perspective when they learned that Richard Jefferson was engaged.
So what is the truth? Is Richard Jefferson the gay Net, or is the rumor false? Using the extensive on-line sources available to a blogger with my clout (err, that means I used Google image search and Flickr), I present to you some candid photos of RJ with ladies and men alike.
The strongest piece of evidence that the rumor was wrong is this picture:
The picture is from the premiere of ELF, and says "Nets Richard Jefferson (Thanks Justin) and his Beautiful Gal pal." I don't think the girl is Caucasian (light-skinned black or Indian?). So the rumor is even more shaky; it can't be RJ, because here he is with a gal pal that's not Caucasian.
There are also pictures of RJ at the opening of what appears to be a strip club. And for once he's actually smiling; in most pictures I'll show you, he's not.
Although I have to admit, this fan seems a little too comfortable around RJ:
In the end, I think there's a better than 80% chance the rumor isn't true. It seems clear that the Nets believe Joumana Kidd made up the rumor, even though no one will say so on the record. And if you read the rumor, it doesn't fit RJ, either. Remember, RJ was overseas when he was younger; so how could he still have kept in touch with the "childhood friend" the rumor refers too? It's a shame that an anonymous rumor like this is going to follow RJ for the rest of his career, especially if it's not true. It's even more unfair because it appears it was done to intentionally smear him, if Joumana Kidd really was behind this. The rest of the photos from my investigation are below. Click the pictures for larger versions.
There's several ballers in this picture; is the white guy possibly Luke Walton? And who's the guy in white? Ah, questions, questions...but once again, RJ has his Yankees hat.