Magazine article Out

THE GRASS CEILING: NFL Running Back David Kopay Has Waited a Long Time to See His Brave Stand Bear Fruit

Magazine article Out

THE GRASS CEILING: NFL Running Back David Kopay Has Waited a Long Time to See His Brave Stand Bear Fruit

Article excerpt

History takes time. We understand this intrinsically, but when it comes to our rights - our lives - we become impatient. David Kopay made history in 1975 when, after almost 10 years as an NFL running back on teams like the 49ers and Vince Lombard's Redskins, he told a newspaper reporter something no other professional athlete had ever said before: "I'm gay."

The response at the time from some in the sports establishment is worth remembering. "My reaction was one of sickness," said the Philadelphia Eagles' head coach. The PR director for the Minnesota Twins railed: "Your colossal gall in attempting to extend your perversions to an area of total manhood is simply unthinkable."

Other closeted NFL players distanced themselves from their old friend. Jerry Smith, a star Redskins tight end, had discussed coming out with Kopay in a book, but Smith died of AIDS in 1986 without ever publicly acknowledging he was gay. Some teammates and officials supported Kopay, but history has been slow to catch up on the football field.

Nearty 40 years later, only two other NFL players have come out, both after retiring. No out man has ever played an American professional team sport. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.