Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL [Print without images]

Monday, January 28, 2002
Horn dispels rumor he fathered Roaf's child

ESPN.com news services

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn said he doesn't know how the malicious story started, but he hopes a public denial will end the attacks on him and his family.

Horn told ESPN's Unscripted that he isn't the father of Willie Roaf's six-week-old daughter, and that he's speaking out nationally on the subject because he wanted his fans to know that they were untrue.

Last Thursday, Saints left tackle Willie Roaf ended months of silence by dispelling rumors that Horn is the father of Roaf's daughter, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported.

Roaf told the newspaper the baby "looks like me; long feet, long hands, she's a big girl. I feel comfortable the child is mine."

Horn told the newspaper: "The bottom line is this. There are things that we as NFL players do that people on the outside don't understand. We make mistakes sometimes, but that is one mistake Joe Horn did not make. I did not sleep with Willie Roaf's wife.

"I've never met her before, I've never seen her before. So the cowards in New Orleans who keep bringing my name up in clubs, restaurants and casinos, and spread these rumors on those stupid talk shows, if they have any proof that I was anywhere near Willie Roaf's house or apartment, then I'm challenging them to come see me.

"Call me. Because it didn't happen."

Horn said he has discussed the matter with Roaf on numerous occasions and even offered to take a blood test to prove his innocence.

"Me and Willie are OK," Horn told the paper. "I could call him right now and talk for an hour and a half. I could go to his home in Arkansas ... Me and Willie Roaf are fine."

Horn said the months of gossip and swirling rumors -- and now public airing of this matter -- have been damaging for him, his wife and three children.

"It's been damaging to me because I know I didn't do anything like this," Horn said. "It's damaging to me because I'm on vacation right now and I got to hear about it. But I'll get over it because I don't give a (hoot). I'm going to have fun, I'm going to golf, and when it's time for me to shut up and play again with the Saints, I'll be ready to go. Trust me."

Contrary to rumors about the rumor, Horn said it did not cause the team to fall from 7-5 to 7-9 and out of postseason contention.

"This rumor didn't lead to the four-game losing streak," Horn told the Times-Picayune. "Our collapse happened because players weren't doing their jobs, simple as that. I was ready to play football; some other guys were ready to play football. Some guys just didn't want to play. Hopefully, we're fixing that problem now. But it had nothing to do with the rumor about me and Willie Roaf."