Pride Package: David Kopay

David Marquette Kopay (born June 28, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American football running back in the NFL who was one of the first professional athletes to come out as gay.

Kopay was born in Chicago and attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. He entered the University of Washington in 1961 and became an All-American running back in his senior year. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. He played pro football from 1964 to 1972. After he retired from the NFL, he was considered a top contender for coaching positions, but was snubbed by professional and college teams because of his sexual orientation. He eventually took over the family business selling and installing floor coverings in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. He is also a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation.

His biography, The David Kopay Story, written with Perry Dean Young, offers insights into the sexual proclivities of heterosexual football players and their homophobia. In 1986, Kopay also revealed his brief affair with Jerry Smith (1943-1986), who played for the Washington Redskins from 1965-1977 and who died of AIDS without ever having publicly come out of the closet.

Since Kopay, only two additional former NFL Players have come out as gay, Roy Simmons in 1992, and Esera Tuaolo in 2002. Kopay has been credited with inspiring these athletes to be more open about their sexual orientation.

Happy Birthday, Dave!
And thanks for being such a pioneer, ya big stud!

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