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Thread: Gay NFL Star Jerry Smith's Career Examined in Groundbreaking Broadcast

  1. #1
    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
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    Default Gay NFL Star Jerry Smith's Career Examined in Groundbreaking Broadcast

    Friend: Gay Redskins TE Jerry Smith coped with 'horrendous existence'

    Friend: Gay Redskins TE Jerry Smith coped with 'horrendous existence'



    If you grew up near the Washington Beltway, you're likely familiar with former Redskin Jerry Smith. Your age probably determines whether your first memory of Smith is that of a record-setting tight end or a man who died of AIDS at age 43 in 1986.

    But if you've never heard of Smith at all, NFL Films is featuring his story for its Emmy-nominated series,A Football Life, and the documentary premiered Tuesday night on NFL Network and will continue to re-air.


    Smith, a two-time Pro Bowler who played from 1965 to 1977, retired with the most touchdown catches in league history for a tight end (60). He was able to achieve notoriety on the field despite the challenges he encountered off it.


    Jerry Smith was gay.


    "He was living in real fear," says Smith's friend, David Mixner, who is also homosexual, "and really alone and terrified that he was gonna lose everything."


    Mixner adds: "It's real important not to look back on this with 2013 eyes. This was a horrendous existence."


    No openly gay player has played in the league, though several have discussed their orientation upon retirement. Smith's brother, Ed, says Jerry Smith didn't reveal his homosexuality to teammates.


    But some were cognizant of Smith's secret while others suspected it.


    "If people knew, they probably didnt talk about it," says former Redskins defensive back Brig Owens, who was also Smith's roommate. "There was that fear, because you didn't want someone to take away something you loved.


    "He knew I was aware."


    So was running back Dave Kopay, who came out of the closet after his career ended in 1972. He also wrote an autobiography and talked about a sexual encounter with Smith, though Kopay used an alias for his ex-teammate. But Smith, who always guarded his private life, would never speak to Kopay again.


    Former Redskins interviewed by NFL Films all laud Smith as an ideal teammate.


    Hall of Fame wideout Charley Taylor even suggests Washington had a reputation as a haven for gay players, and that there might have been as many as a dozen on the roster at one point.


    "We didn't worry about that," said Taylor, a friend of Smith's and teammate going back to their days at Arizona State in the 1960s.


    But Mixner says it wasn't that simple, especially in that era. He contends that though some players might not have cared about Smith's private life, others would have oppressed him and ensured he lost his job had he come out.


    Smith loved playing for Vince Lombardi, who had a gay brother and demanded an atmosphere of tolerance in the locker room. Smith was also a favorite of subsequent coach George Allen, even though he reduced Smith's role as a receiver and used him more as a blocker.


    The closest Smith ever came to revealing himself was in a story for The Washington Star. But he insisted on being quoted anonymously and refused to be identified by his position or as a member of the Redskins.


    In retirement, Smith contracted AIDS, a virtual death sentence in the 1980s. He discussed his battle with the disease in The Washington Post but wouldn't reveal how he contracted it.


    He died Oct. 15, 1986, nine years after his final NFL game.


    Smith is a member of the team's ring of honor and still shares Washington's record for most TD catches in a season (12).


    "As soon as he retired, then the whispers started," says Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell. "Then we were aware of his persuasion, but we treated him like we did everybody else because he was one of us."
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I was reading about this yesterday. Here's a pretty good clip about what Smith was going through, with commentary from his fellow players:

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    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, I really want to watch the whole documentary.
    Ain't nothing wrong with Ohio wang! - MontanaMama

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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    This just makes me sad to read and watch.
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    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
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    I'll post the youtube clips of the documentary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

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    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

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    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I think the information about Lombardi is pretty illuminating. He was one of the most respected coaches of all time and is famous for saying "Winning isn't everything - it's the ONLY thing." For a guy like that, in that era, to be intolerant of homophobia on the team shows how much he loved his brother, and how it influenced his worldview.

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    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    Thanks for uploading those Seth, I'm crying all over myself now. R.I.P Jerry.
    Ain't nothing wrong with Ohio wang! - MontanaMama

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I think the information about Lombardi is pretty illuminating. He was one of the most respected coaches of all time and is famous for saying "Winning isn't everything - it's the ONLY thing." For a guy like that, in that era, to be intolerant of homophobia on the team shows how much he loved his brother, and how it influenced his worldview.
    he was also intolerant of racism of any type. lombardi was a man ahead of his time in many ways.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    he was also intolerant of racism of any type. lombardi was a man ahead of his time in many ways.
    Thanks. I didn't know his track record in that area. I have a LOT of memories of taking my mom to the Lombardi Cancer Center (at Georgetown University Medical Center) for treatment. It's gratifying to know they named it after a humanitarian as well as a great coach.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    My dad's children all grow up with Lombardi worship. The first book we all learned to read was Run to Daylight. If he interests you, there is an excellent documentary on him by HBO films- Lombardi- it's a great watch even for non sports fans.
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    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member angelais's Avatar
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    I watched this on the NFL channel the other night. It was really heartbreaking.
    Did you know that an anagram for "Conscious Uncoupling" is "Iconic Uncool Pus Guns"? - MohandasKGanja

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