Howard, who sat down with FOX Sports’ Kristine Leahy for an episode of “Fair Game,” said he isn’t gay and he touched on a lawsuit that was filed against him in March by Masin Elije — who has said the eight-time All-Star was in a romantic relationship with him and harassed him into signing a non-disclosure agreement after their alleged relationship was over.
Howard told Leahy the situation set him “free” and also upset him because he didn’t know who the person was.
“Why would somebody who I never met, never had any contact with, make up a whole story about me?” Howard asked rhetorically. “And I saw all the hate, the pure hate, from people I have never met before just pile up. Everywhere I went.”
Howard, who was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Grizzlies during the offseason, said the situation made him realize that he could just be himself.
“The situation made me realize, you’re not like this. Just be you. Be free.
“I’m not gay,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who are and they have to hide. And there’s people who have mental issues and they have to hide. It’s people who have different problems in life and they have to hide. They have to put on their mask every day. But it’s like I don’t want to wear no mask. I just want to be.”
Elije, in response to the Howard interview, wrote on Twitter he stood by his allegations.
The first part of the interview can be seen on FOX Sports 1 at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The second part will air Thursday at the same time.