August 2006 Archives

The NFL’s Closet Case

In the fall of 1997, when celebrity comings-out were becoming commonplace, whether it was Elton John or Ellen De Generes, it occurred to me that the sports world still remained pretty mum, pretty closeted. And nowhere more so than in the National Football League. So I called Dave Kopay, at the time one of two NFL players ever to come out (both after they were out of football), to see what he had to say on the subject. Kopay was a trailblazer, talking openly about his sexuality in the mid-1970s, before even Elton was ready to. As you’ll see in the paragraphs that follow, Kopay was (and remains) a kind man and an agreeable interview, but in no way was he happily reconciled to his lot.

One great postscript... A few months after this article ran, Kopay gave an interview to the Advocate in which he related the following story: “In the GQ article, I was quoted, accurately, saying ‘Would I do Troy Aikman on Sunset Strip? Yes! That would be my fantasy!’ Well, a couple of days after the article was published, I was flying to Dallas for a buying trip or something. Into the terminal in L.A. comes Troy Aikman. We both got sidetracked and were the last people on the plane. I wanted to introduce myself, but he was being bothered by kids. He was being gracious but obviously wanted privacy. He is as gorgeous in person as he is on TV. So I went up to him and said, ‘My name is Dave Kopay, and I used to play pro ball.’ Then I told him what I said in the article. I said, ‘I don't apologize for what I said, but I do apologize for it if it caused you pain.’ He just smiled and said, ‘Dave, don’t worry about it. I look forward to reading it.’”

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August 20, 2006  Link  GQ  Share/Bookmark

The Curious Case of ‘Withnail & I’

There was this great British indie movie that I fell in love with while in college (circa ’87-’88) called Withnail & I. It never did that well at the box office, but by the mid-’90s, when I wrote this article, Withnail & I had become a full-fledged cult among young men in Britain and America. I seized the opportunity to write about this wonderful film, and, to my delight, was invited to spend the night at the gorgeous Herefordshire farm of Withnail’s brilliant but reclusive writer-director, Bruce Robinson. I also got to live out every Withnail-er’s fantasy by spending lots of time with the movie’s three principals, Richard E. Grant (Withnail), Paul McGann (“I”), and Richard Griffiths (Uncle Monty; Griffiths would later achieve greater American fame as Harry Potter’s mean Uncle Vernon). At the time I wrote this article, I was that much younger than I am now, and I still had a bit of Withnail-wannabe in me: a put-on misanthropy, an eagerness to impress, a faked Britishness. But I still like this piece, and it evokes happy times.

GQ, October 1995

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August 14, 2006  Link  GQ  Share/Bookmark


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