Come Out of the Dark Ages
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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.
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