Tag Archives: gay athlete

Jamie Lee Curtis To Produce Biopic Honoring Gay Major League Baseball Player Glenn Burke

Glenn Burke


Before there was Michael Sams or Jason Collins there was Glenn Burke.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is putting on her producer’s cap to make a film honoring the memory of Glenn Burke, a professional athlete who came out of the closet long before Jason Collins or Michael Sam.

Out at Home: The Glenn Burke Story will focus on Burke’s tenure with the Dodgers and Athletics during the 1970s, a time when he shared his sexual preferences to his teammates and management but not the general public. Burke died of AIDS-related causes in 1995.

Curtis told the press the time is right for such a story to hit movie houses.

With (openly gay college football player) Michael Sam’s brave and bold statement, he joins the Trifecta of American sports, Glenn Burke – MLB (Major League Baseball), Jason Collins – NBA (National Basketball Association), Michael Sam – NFL (National Football League), dealing with gay athletes, and forcing open the door permanently. Our film will clearly honour the force and the struggle to get there.

As a gay man, Burke’s association with the Dodgers was a difficult one at best.  According to his 1995 autobiography, Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis offered to pay for a lavish honeymoon if Burke agreed to marry.  Burke refused to do so, and is said to have responded “to a woman?” He also angered Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda by befriending the manager’s gay son, Tommy Lasorda, Jr.  Lasorda has disputed that but says he does not understand Burke’s behavior at the time: “Why wouldn’t he come out? Why keep that inside? Glenn had a lot of talent.  He could have been an outstanding basketball or baseball player.  He sure was good in the clubhouse. What happened?  I don’t know what happened.”

The Dodgers eventually traded Burke to the Oakland Athletics for Billy North, claiming that they needed an experienced player who could contribute right away. North did have more experience and better statistics, but some would argue he was less talented, and there have been suggestions that homophobia was behind the trade.  In Oakland Burke received little playing time in the 1978 and 1979 seasons.  Billy Martin used the word “faggot” in the clubhouse when he became an Athletics’s manager in 1980, and some teammates avoided showering with Burke.

Burke suffered a knee injury before the 1980 season began, and the Athletics sent him to the minors in Utah and then released him from his contract before the season ended.

An article published in Inside Sports magazine in 1982 made Burke’s homosexuality public knowledge.  Although he remained active in amateur competitions, Burke turned to drugs to fill the void in his life when his career ended.  An addiction to cocaine destroyed him both physically and financially.  In 1987, his leg and foot were crushed when he was hit by a car in San Francisco.  After the accident, his life went into physical and financial decline. He was arrested and jailed for drugs and lived on the streets of San Francisco for a number of years, often congregating with other homeless people in the same neighborhood where he had been a popular figure. He spent his final months with his sister in Oakland.

Glenn Burke died on May 30, 1995, of AIDS complications at Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro, California, at age 42.

NBA Executive and Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts Publicly Comes Out

While Ruben Diaz and NOM was trying to make yesterday a day of neo- christian gay hate and fascism against the LGBT Community.  Another gay man besides Don lemon came out of the closet, that man was none other than  long-time National Basketball Association executive and Phoenix Suns President & Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts

The New York Times once again profiled the coming out story with Welts explaining the specifics of the 40 years he spent hiding his sexuality from those in the NBA.

Two years ago, a 14-year relationship ended badly, in part because his partner finally rejected the shadow life that Mr. Welts required. “My high profile in this community, and my need to have him be invisible,” Mr. Welts said, with clear regret. “That ultimately became something we couldn’t overcome.”

He began to think: here he was, in his mid-50s, and maybe he had sacrificed too much; and maybe he should open up about his sexuality, in a way that might help others. He kept a journal, sought advice from his sister and close friends, listed the pros and cons. He also had long talks with his widowed mother, Phyllis, in the months before she died of lung cancer, at 85, last fall. She encouraged him to do what he thought was best.

The article is a great read and a truly heartrending story.

I hope Welts is rewarded with peace of mind at last.

Rick Welts is a whole new definition of  the term “sports hero.”

SCREW Publicity Whore Chelly Wright! Cutie New Zealand Olympic Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup Comes Out! : "I’m Gay"

Said Blake to DNA Magazine via OutSports:

 “The first real issue was that I was there [at the Olympics] to compete – to focus on my skating – and to not have the focus on my sexuality. We are not yet at the point in society where being gay sportsperson is not a big deal. If I was asked during any of my twenty-something interviews at the Olympics whether I had a boyfriend or a girlfriend – in the same sentence – I would have replied honestly, but I may have replied hesitantly…Gays are too often given a stereotype. Back when I was 18, and becoming serious about my sport and my Olympic goals, if I could have seen an athlete like myself out there – with whom I could relate to – my journey would have been a lot easier. [American figure skater] Johnny Weir meets a specific stereotype, I meet a specific stereotype and [Welsh rugby player] Gareth Thomas meets another. Being gay is just like any other personality trait: it’s multifaceted. I can’t personally relate to Weir or Thomas, and nor will many other young gay athletes out there. But maybe some of them will see something in me to relate to. The more types we provide, the more we’ll appeal to people [who are struggling with their sexuality.]”

I’m proud of you little brother because unlike a certain Lesbian Country Singer we know *cough* Chelly Wright *cough* you didn’t come out to jumpstart you career and promote an upcoming CD and Book.

Welcome to the Family Blake!

Australian Four-Time Olympic Swimming Medalist Daniel Kowalski: I’m Gay

Four-time Olympic medalist in swimming for Australia,  Daniel Kowalski came out of the closet today in a column in Australian paper The Age:

“Despite the dark, fearful and lonely times, being able to write this fills me with a sense of freedom, pride and relief. There truly is a genuine sense that everything will be OK. I wrestled for a long, long time wondering whether being gay made me a bad person, but I can no longer fight who I am and that, simply put, is just me.

Being a gay man with a foot half in and out of the closet is tough; the games it plays with your mind – and more importantly, your heart – are hard to put into words but I am going to try my best. I finally accepted my sexuality at the end of 2006 following a huge anxiety attack at work. After what were literally years of torment, denial and very, very dark times, I couldn’t live a lie to myself any more. You often read that when people came out they had felt depressed or had suicidal tendencies. I, like them, experienced all of the extremes, but mostly it was the loneliness that was the hardest part of being gay – and still is. The number of times I have sat on the couch or lain in bed bawling my eyes out, scared and fearful of the future, are too many to mention.

Profile: David Kopay, The First Openly Gay Professional Football Plkayer

What with it being SuperBowl Sunday and all the shit thats going down thnaks to CBS being a bunch of douchebags I thought it would be appropriate to remember Dave Kopay who nearly 35 years ago became the FIRST professional football player and athlete in the three major sports to reveal his homosexuality, sending shock waves throughout his macho and homophobic surroundings.

“It seems now that the sports world is the last protector of the faith to be bigoted and discriminate,” Kopay told the Post-Intelligencer in an interview 10 years ago. “It’s certainly breaking down everywhere else. We have become mainstream in terms of politics. Maybe (it will happen in sports) in the next 20 years. (Perhaps we should up that number.)

“I didn’t think it was going to take this long.”

Kopay played for the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins, retiring in 1972 after a productive nine-year pro career. His private affairs were known to few.

On Dec. 10, 1975, Kopay read the first installment of a newspaper series on gays in sports in the now-defunct Washington Star, a story based solely on anonymous sources. He decided insight was needed. Kopay brashly called Star reporter Lynn Rosellini, daughter of former Washington Gov. Albert Rosellini, and agreed to discuss his homosexuality in print two days later, using his name.

A year later, he wrote a book, “The David Kopay Story,” a New York Times best-seller that was updated in 1988 and is headed for a third printing next spring.

“My life is a lot more fulfilled,” he said. “One of the things that made me speak out was I felt suffocated. I thought I could do something right.”

Kopay once estimated between five and 10 percent of all NFL players were homosexual, numbers that matched the general population at the time, numbers he assumes have increased over the past two and a half decades. Fears of public backlash, endorsement losses and ruined careers, he says, have kept today’s football-minded gays in the closet.

“They’re so nervous about the sports page,” he said. “I remember the letters I got, ‘How dare you speak about homosexuals on the sports page!'”

To his face, Kopay never received a negative reaction from former teammates, though he heard some were privately disgusted.

Rick Redman was a Husky teammate and an NFL linebacker, a player known for his conservative bent. He showed support for Kopay.

“I remember the level of intensity and toughness that he showed on the field,” Redman said. “From a player’s standpoint, I had a great deal of respect for the kind of attitude he brought to the playing environment. When you have that kind of respect for people, the decisions they make in their personal life are often times easy to accept.

“I kind of felt that way about Dave. Coming out took a lot of conviction.”

Kopay often travels around the country, fulfilling speaking engagements. When Reggie White, then of the Green Bay Packers, criticized nearly every diverse group in a public forum years ago, Kopay responded with a thoughtful, open letter that was published in the New York Times, refuting each of White’s points.

Kopay has advised high school and college football players who have sought him out on gay matters, but there has been no interaction with current NFL members.

Mixing pro football and homosexuality, Kopay often times finds himself a lone voice. He has no regrets. He envisions the day when no one cares about a player’s sexual preference.

In the meantime still to this day, Kopay fills the busy role of gay athlete activist. He’s a true gay pioneer.