Kopay attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. He entered the University of Washington in 1961 and became an All-American running back in his senior year. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers. He played professional football from 1964 to 1972. After he retired from the NFL, he was considered a top contender for coaching positions, but he believes he was snubbed by professional and college teams because of his sexual orientation. He went to work as a salesman/purchaser in his uncle's floorcovering business in Hollywood. He is also a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation.
Since Kopay, only four additional former NFL Players have come out as gay, Roy Simmons in 1992, Esera Tuaolo in 2002 , Wade Davis in 2012 and Kwame Harris in 2013. Kopay has been credited with inspiring these athletes to be more open about their sexual orientation.
Kopay appears as himself in a small but pivotal role in the film Tru Loved (2008). His scene features young actor Matthew Thompson and Alexandra Paul.
Kopay became a Gay Games Ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games. He came to Gay Games VII in Chicago in July 2006 and was a featured announcer in the opening ceremonies.
Jerry Smith, second from the right
Kopay announced in September 2007 that he will be leaving $1 million as an endowment to the University of Washington Q Center.
The David Kopay Story: An Extraordinary Self-Revelation by David Kopay & Perry Deane Young
Publisher Advocate Books (August 1, 2001)
Amazon: The David Kopay Story: An Extraordinary Self-Revelation
Twenty-three years after publishing his story, David Kopay remains the only NFL player who has publicly acknowledged his homosexuality. From psychotherapy to hypnosis to heartbreaking family confrontations to finally surprising acceptance from former teammates and coaches, this is a story of denial leading to acceptance, and finally to pride. As inspiring today as it was upon publication, Advocate Books is proud to make The David Kopay Story
Available to a new generation of readers.
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