Sportrait: David Kopay


Couldn’t resist posting this cover of Mandate featuring former pro football player Dave Kopay. For those of you not familiar with Kopay, he was the first pro football player to come out of the closet, after he retired in 1975. This is two months after that, in May 1977, and it looks as though being out is suiting him well.

In September, Kopay announced he would be giving a $1 million gift to the University of Washington’s Q Center, a support, advocacy, and mentoring center for LGBT students.

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  1. alguien says

    about 10 or so years ago, i just happened to be showering at san francisco’s central YMCA at the same time as kopay. even in his 50s he was incredibly hot.

  2. anthony n' sf says

    reports are that $1 million donation represents more than half of kopay’s personal fortune. i think it’s pretty amazing to think someone gave away half of everything he owns to sponsor a center like the one he wants sponsor. of course, holding onto $1 million ain’t bad either. still, imagine how different the world would be if someone like david geffen gave away half of everything he owned. (and no i’m not saying he should. i’m just trying to put kopay’s generosity into some kind of context.)

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    Oh, Andy, don’t start me off on one of my sentimental journeys back to the 70s. You know Leland has no sympathy for me when I start talking about the wonderful 70s when everybody was young (some even beautiful!); we were dancing to Sylvester(y’all, to ABBA, I guess); religious folks were too stupid to know what to say about us; there was a piece of trade (hung like John Holmes) for every queen! I had a full head of hair, and a 30 inch waistline..well, it was actually 33, but I fit everything into a size 30.
    I love to love you, baby
    I love to love you, baby

    Lord, I’m starting to cry.

    ‘Member George Maharis? Did he come out voluntarily, or was it by force?

  4. rudy says

    Kopay was (and remains) not only physically beautiful but emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually beautiful as well. Hot, in every measure, indeed. And yet unassuming, charming, and caring. What an inspiring man.

  5. Leland Frances says

    Derrick, Mon Cher, when have I ever flamed you for tiptoeing down memory lane? I’d have third-degree burns myself for that. George Maharis???!!! Girlfriend, I had SUCH a case for him [and that “homoerotic” relationship with another guy traveling the US in a Corvette convertible on the CBS series “Route 66”] even BEFORE his hot frontal pix in “Playgirl” and the private ones that surfaced. I still treasure his albums, 45s, and “TV Guide” covers. Some of those pix just for YOU, Babycakes:

    I don’t believe he ever formally came out, even after two gay sex arrests,

    which probably were what torpedoed his career after he was replaced on the series when he had hepatitis [wonder how that happened]. After I bought bootleg copies of the whole “Route 66″ series, it’s finally coming out on DVD next year. It had brilliant scripts, quotes from I still recall [“Love is a skinny kid that can catch cold and die from just standing outside begging to come in.], and a Who’s Who of guest stars, established and upcoming, from Joan Crawford to Robert Redford. One critic wrote, it can “produce a kind of adventure like nothing else on television, and one can be as movingly universal as Hemingway’s ‘A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.'”

    I’m sure Kopay forgot me long ago, but I knew him briefly, even cooked a meal for him. He is a sweet, sincere man, and the “real deal” as a professional football player [Vince Lombardi was one of his coaches.] I urge everyone to buy his autobiography.

    The teammate he describes having sex with was later revealed to be then football star Jerry Smith. Smith never came out and his family, as I recall, barred his gay friends from his funeral after his death from AIDS.

    Nude photos of Kopay are also out there.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    Thank you, Leland:

    See, all I did was mention George Maharis and got all this show biz history and naked George Maharis pictures too. I had a crush on him when I was about eight years old. Guys wore straight leg, somewhat tight, white slacks back then– from Maharis to Bill Cosby…I loved it. And some say a small child can’t be gay.

    Hey, ‘member Robert Conrad in casual slacks?

  7. says

    FYI – It was my privilege to have met Dave Kopay after he published his autobiography. I can tel you first hand that this gift is not the first time he has given of himself -or his money- for GLBT youth and other causes for the community. Every time I pass the Rancho Dominguez seminary where he was a student it reminds me of his generosity and the example he sets for all of us to follow. Of course, he’s not the only philanthropist in the community; but like the great majority of our true heroes, his giving has not been motivated by a desire to see his name in the media.

    Still, it’s nice when some gay people can actually get in the news for doing good things once in a while.

  8. Leland Frances says

    Sir Lancelot Bass is all over TV telling viewers he knew he wanted to kiss boys WHEN HE WAS FIVE!

    As for Robert Conrad—be still my beating…. Thank Judy “Wild Wild West” in which he weekly found an excuse to take his shirt off came on relatively early in the evening or queens back then would never have made it to the bar on a Friday night. Wives and at least eight kids aside, I’ve always been convinced that any man, particularly then, with a virtual fetish for showing off his body [that begin more logically in the series “Hawaiian Eye”] had to have a hint of mint. And a few B&D fantasies, too, as he was often shown both shirtless and restrained, not to mention his black leather chaps over his skin tight pants. Unforunately, he sometimes mowed the lawn, as it were.

  9. mdtopdad says

    Met Dave MANY years ago when he was playing for the Washington Redskins. We met at a bar called Eddie’s in Baltimore. He was wearinga polka dot shirt and tight white jeans. and he was hot!! I only found out he was a football player after I turned him down for a walk on the wild side!! But I do have the memory of dancing with him.

  10. resurrect says

    Dave Kopay was the subject of a magazine article in Cosmopolitan with a 2″x4″ black & white photo of himself enveloped in some sort of animal skin/fur coat. It was the lighting that set my 15 yr. old hormones raging. I was in the Atlanta Public Library – having ridden the bus downtown since I couldn’t drive – and oh so carefully tore the page out of the magazine and carried it home in my back pocket. A year or so later, I bought the David Kopay story and devoured it – reading it at night and hiding it within my bed slats. The picture, the autobio and his example throughout life have left an indelible impression on me re: what it means to be a gay man.

    Dave Kopay – thanks for bringing me out.

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