The League

David Kopay
Former Player

David Kopay

Retired running back who in 1975 became the first openly gay NFL player

Come Out of the Dark Ages


When I came out, in 1975, I thought it wasn't going to take very long for other players to follow. Of course nobody talked about gay people back then. That's what made it such a totally wild story.

But if the NFL is not ready now, it should be. Come on, how many years has it been? In 1968 Jerry [Smith] -- Mr. Touchdown with the Redskins -- was out more than I was. Sure it was taboo, but now times have changed.

Society is still way ahead of the NFL on the subject of homosexuality. If you don't recognize that gay folks have every right of regular society then you are in the dark ages, but of course sports are in the dark ages. They are trying now though and that's a really big plus. On the college levels they're even more progressive. I've been welcomed like a total icon. It's amazing.

I've been blessed in being able to contribute to this issue and speak up for myself and others. I wish Jerry was alive to see it. I feel bad about that. When I came out it put him in a very difficult position, but I was just reacting like any player when someone's trying to knock your head off. Life puts you sometimes in a strange position and you just have to go for it. I may have missed out on coaching but I've done so much with my life and I am so blessed, so blessed that I even have parking karma... how good is that?

Things are changing and I'm so lucky to be alive in these times. To think that we now have a black president! I never thought I would see that day, but I hoped for it. As a long time supporter of civil rights I always felt that what Martin Luther King was saying was the same thing gays were fighting for.

Sexuality is a personal and complicated thing. You can't define somebody by a word. Love doesn't have a gender, it's love period. I know that. I knew that when i was married, I knew that when I was in the closet and I know that now... it's just love.

By David Kopay  |  June 17, 2009; 8:14 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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"You can't define somebody by a word."


And exactly what is this column about?

A word that defines somebody: (in this case) gay.

And now for another word that defines somebody (in this case the columnist, for undoing the entire logic of his column): idiot.

Posted by: jpfannen | June 17, 2009 12:10 PM


Wow, I am forever enlightened by your most insightful comment! Not.

Sooo, what was the point of YOUR comment, honey? Just tried to be an arse? I bet.

You can't define a person by just one word, but I'll try for you: Ignoramous.

Posted by: jromaniello | June 17, 2009 12:58 PM

Sorry, jpfannen, I don't follow.

David Kopay is right to say that you can't properly and correctly define somebody by a word because that word doesn't sum up everything about them. For example, is the most important thing about Barack Obama that he is "black"? (Or in the moronic hyper-race-conscious phrase of Rush Limbaugh, "a half white, half black human being"?) I'd say the most important thing is that he's the president.

Of course, bigots, by definition of the term bigot, do try to define people by a single word, in this case: gay. But in his final paragraph, Kopay points out that word can't or shouldn't be used to segregate one group of people from another or define them, since to him, love is the same, regardless of gender. You can disagree with him, though I don't know why you would, but he is being logical and coherent and is not an idiot.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | June 17, 2009 1:03 PM

When we improve the quality of our schools and make it desireable for intelligent people to access public places such as pulpits and politics, we will see this hateful invective around homosexuality just disappear. It is a real pity that homosexual human beings are having to fight for basic rights. Anti homosexual belief is based on ignorance, real straightforward ignorance and nothing else.

Posted by: Draesop | June 17, 2009 11:24 PM

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