Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dave Kopay - Jerry Smith: NFL team love affair

Washington Redskins: NFL’s Gayest Team?

At least four players and an assistant General Manager of the Washington Redskins football team were known to be gay. The players were Dave Kopay (left), Jerry Smith, Wade Davis and Roy Simmons, and the General Manager was David Slattery.

While a running back for the Washington Redskins, Dave Kopay (b. 1942) had a relationship with teammate Jerry Smith, a star tight end for the team from 1965-1977. In 1975, three years after his career in football had ended, Kopay gave an interview to the Washington Star (newspaper) in which he declared his homosexuality. He is believed to be the first professional athlete to do so. It was while playing for the Redskins under legendary coach Vince Lombardi that Kopay and Smith had their affair.

In 1977 he wrote his autobiography, “The David Kopay Story: An Extraordinary Self-Revelation,” currently in its 5th printing. The book remains a perennial favorite with people coming to grips with their sexual identities.

Kopay told the cable sports network ESPN about his relationship with Jerry Smith, calling it his “first real coming-out experience.” Although Smith died of complications from AIDS in 1987 at age forty-three, he never publicly acknowledged his homosexuality.

Teammate and lover Jerry Smith:


At the Gay Games VII in Chicago (July 2006), Kopay was a featured announcer in the opening ceremonies. Currently active as a motivational speaker, Kopay announced in September 2007 that he will be leaving $1 million as an endowment to the University of Washington Q Center, a haven for people of all sexual orientations. Dave Kopay lives in the Los Feliz area of West Hollywood, where he still receives hundreds of letters from fans of his book who received understanding, support and inspiration from his life story.

In 1992, Roy Simmons, who had been a linebacker for the Washington Redskins and New York Giants in the 1980s, came out on the national television talk show, “Donahue.” In 2003, on World AIDS Day, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with AIDS in 1997. His book that tells his story about being in the closet while playing with the NFL is titled "Out of Bounds."



In 1993 David Slattery, general manager of the Washington Redskins in the early 1970s, came out as homosexual, long after he had left the sport.





Wade Davis (below right) was a defensive back for the Redskins for the 2003 season. He announced he was gay when he participated in the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network's "Changing The Game" program, which is designed to fight against homophobia in K thru 12 athletics by starting a dialogue about the issue.














All in all, quite a gay line-up for a professional football team.

1 comment:

  1. Same former newspaper reporter and copy editor from the Bill Tilden post. Just a detail here: there are no "offensive linebackers" in football. Linebacker is a defensive position. Simmons did play on offense, as a guard and a lineman.

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