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David Kopay made history when he came out in as the first openly gay former NFL player, and was among the first openly gay professional athletes in general. Kopay, who now resides in Palm Springs, was a pro running back from on several teams including the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. Those years, he says in a new interview aired on KESQ NewsChannel 3 , were spent in constant fear that his athletic career would be ruined if his secret came out. But after contemplating suicide, he decided to speak up. He did mention separately he was talking about Shilene Woodley, an actress. Most straight people will gleefully describe their future spouses but hey, to each his own.
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But Vincent said he also wants to be remembered as someone who speaks out against domestic violence, the majority of which is directed against women. Vincent recounted how, as a child, he witnessed the horrors of extreme domestic abuse by his mother's boyfriend, who regularly beat her. That abuse resulted in numerous hospital visits, he said, and one attack proved so violent that every bone in her face was fractured. When he tried to enlist help from neighbors during the beatings, people were afraid to open their doors to him because they didn't want to get involved, he said.
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A lot of guys still see it as potentially having a negative impact on their career. The former offensive tackle kept his sexual orientation secret from the time he was drafted by the Patriots in through his tenure with the Chiefs which ended in Soccer player Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay athlete actively playing in U. The NFL has yet to see an openly gay player on the field, and fewer than 10have come out in retirement.
The ongoing debate about how a gay NFL player would be treated in the locker room has largely focused on the idea that times are changing, and that acceptance of a gay player would be a modern development. Multiple players who played for Vince Lombardi, the legendary former Packers and Redskins coach, say that he knew some of his players were gay, and that not only did he not have a problem with it, but he went out of his way to make sure no one else on his team would make it a problem. He felt the pain of discrimination, and so he raised his family to accept everybody, no matter what color they were or whatever their sexual orientation was. Dave Kopay, the first former NFL player to come out, also played on those Redskins, and he says that while he never told Lombardi, he believes Lombardi knew not only that Kopay was gay, but that Kopay and another Redskins player, Jerry Smith, were in a romantic relationship.