David Kopay LGBT Sports Summit (via Outsports com)
An antiques dealer in Pasadena has penned a beautiful column for The Advocate about his chance encounter with openly gay former NFL running back Dave Kopay. The piece waxes poetic about the legacies of our community's legends, our culture's treatment of senior citizens, our society's failure to educate youth on LGBT history...and the power one man can have on another man's life.
The piece also perfectly captures the spirit and mannerisms of Kopay.
Part of his column talks about what transpired as Kopay walked out of his dealership:
At the Pasadena Antique Center there are, somehow, two dealers, both 80, both named Bob Anderson. Upstairs Bob Anderson and Downstairs Bob Anderson. Downstairs Bob Anderson, wonderfully gruff and quite straight, despite what you might think about antiques dealers, came rushing up to me as Dave was walking out of the store, having left me with a check for the rooster.
"Do you know who that is? Do you know? Do you?" In his excitement, Bob suddenly looked 12 again.
"That man is Dave Kopay!"
I waited, probably looking confused.
"Dave Kopay was a pro baller back in the day, and boy was he fast! No one - and I mean no one - could catch him. He went on to play 10 years professionally. Then, well, I followed him close as he went to my alma mater, the University of Washington. He came out ... as gay you know."
He paused a bit, as if the weight of what he said needed an extra moment.
"Then he wrote a book about coming out and he got blacklisted by everyone and couldn't get work in the industry anymore and it was kinda sad, but he went on to work for his family flooring business. He comes in here from time to time."
I looked at the check in my hand, and there, printed at the top, the name, Dave Kopay. Bob continued, "Well, I just thought you should know who he is. He is a great guy and a terrific footballer, and boy, was he fast!"
And this, about where the LGBT culture is moving in this country:
My roommates went to five different gay prides this year. They had a blast, they were visible, and they brought me back a rainbow bandanna and a bottle of some promotional alcohol that was given away. They told me about the hotties they met, about the hotel rooms they rented, about the drinking and how much fun they had. I looked at my gay friends on Facebook, and I saw their photos from all of the gay pride parades in cities across the nation. I saw rainbow banners and flags held high, half-naked men in fabulous shoes, tattooed women in fabulous bras, some leather, some drunk people (sponsored by certain alcohol companies, of course), but I did not see one photo of a parade float filled with older gay people. There was no mention of the Stonewall generation to be found, no shout-outs to the generation that lived through the AIDS crisis. Only lots and lots of beautiful, naked skin. Surface. And while I am sure that somewhere, at some times, our older gay family is applauded, I certainly did not see it visible anywhere online or in the anecdotes I heard about or during gay pride.
The column is not done justice by these two passages. So please, go to The Advocate and read the whole piece. It's really fantastic.
And you can catch some of our coverage of Kopay over the years here: