Former Football Pro Dave Kopay Gives $1 Million to UW LGBT Center

Kopay1Former pro football player Dave Kopay, who was the first professional athlete to come out of the closet (after his retirement), has given a $1 million gift to the University of Washington’s Q Center, a support, advocacy, and mentoring center for LGBT students.

Said Kopay: “The greatest gift we can give one another is the vision and beauty of life. I continually hear from people all over the world that my act of coming out especially when I did in 1975 has empowered them in their search for self and to see their vision. Hopefully my million-dollar pledge will influence others to support the University and the Q Center continue to help others to do just that.”

The Q Center is reflective of a change in times, and was noted by the center’s director Jennifer Self: “When David was a student-athlete at the UW in the early 60’s, as a gay man, he had nowhere to go for support, affirmation, resources, or safety. That is no longer the case, and thanks in part to him, the Q Center will be here in perpetuity.”

Kopay2She called Kopay’s gift “an act of forgiveness.”

Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer talked to Kopay, who says the gift is “about (half) his estate”, after the announcement. Said Kopay: “Hell yeah, it’s a lot of money to me! I struggled, and I suffered while in college because it was a different time. But it was a wonderful time, too. If I had not gone through some of that stuff, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I owe the university everything. And I think a lot of people feel that way.”

Gay athlete Dave Kopay donates $1 million to UW [seattle times]

(bottom image via outsports)