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First Inductees of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Honored in Chicago

21 individuals, three organizations, one sports team, and one corporation were among those honored Friday night in Chicago as the first inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. The events, according to CBS News, included "a dinner Friday night to honor the inductees at a ceremony at the Center on Halsted and an event on Saturday at Wrigley Field called 'Out at Wrigley,' which organizers says is the largest "Gay Day' at a major league sporting event."

PalloneAmong those inducted was Dave Pallone, who umpired the first night game at Wrigley Field.

Said Pallone, via the AP:

"It is a tremendous honor and ... I hope it gives young people and adults alike who happen to be LGBT and want to be in professional sports another example of why they should continue to strive for their dreams," Pallone said.

Pallone also spoke out about the situation in Russia: "The Olympic Games are for the athletes, not for political or religious figures. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes, colors and orientations," said David Pallone, a former umpire in Major League Baseball. "I truly believe that the IOC should really start thinking about the athletes before they select the host cities."

The complete list of the organization's first inductees:

Gay Games, Outsports.com, Chicago Cubs, International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA), Anheuser Busch, Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Ben Cohen, Dave Pallone, Justin Fashanu, LZ Granderson, Christina Kahrl, Dr. Tom Waddell, Chuck Dima, Jerry Pritikin, Dave Kopay, Glenn Burke, Renee Richards, Billie, Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Patty Sheehan, Andrew Goldstein, Jason Collins, Orlando Cruz and Johnny Weir.


Sportrait: David Kopay

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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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)


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