Former NFL player, gay advocate commences lecture series

October 5, 2010

David Kopay, one of the first openly gay American professional athletes in team sports, is coming to ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus to discuss sports and homosexuality.

The former running back played 10 seasons in the National Football League and shook the sports world in 1975 when he publicly announced to a national newspaper that he was gay.  Download Full Image

Kopay’s “Sports and Homosexuality” is the subject of the second fall 2010 Humanities Lecture Series, co-sponsored by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association (NLGJA) student chapter at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communications. His lecture takes place at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 21, at the  Cronkite School, 555 N. Central Ave., First Amendment Forum, Phoenix.

This year’s lecture series examines human issues related to sports, and is free and open to the public.

“When I came out as a gay man, I was confronting bigotry, the silence, and the hatred directed towards gay men and women," Kopay said in a 2009 speech. "Gay men had always been considered weak and silly and equated with women as being something less. Sure, hatred still exists, but there is a huge difference now. Hatred, dominance and brutality are no longer considered fashionable, celebrated or tolerated. Hopefully more people will continue to embrace change and diversity.”

Kopay grew up in Southern California and entered the University of Washington from 1961 to 1964; he completed his degree in history in 1966. Kopay was named All-American his senior year as well as Rose Bowl co-captain. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 1964, and eventually played for Detroit, New Orleans, Green Bay and Washington, where he played under coaching legend Vince Lombardi.

After Kopay retired from football, he wanted to coach professionally, but said he believes his sexual orientation might have prevented him from getting a job in the NFL. Kopay eventually went to work for his uncle’s business, Linoleum City, a leading supplier of flooring to the motion picture and television industries in Hollywood.

His 1977 autobiography, "The David Kopay Story," stayed on the New York Times’ best-seller list for 10 weeks, and for the first time let readers into the world of professional football athletes, their sexual exploits, and the homophobia that forced Kopay to stay in the closet during his playing days in the NFL. That same year Kopay championed rights for gays in front of Congress, the National Bar Association in 1979, and the American Association of Pediatrics in 1980.

Since Kopay retired, only two other former NFL Players have come out: Roy Simmons in 1992 and Esera Tuaolo in 2002. Kopay has been credited with inspiring these athletes to be more open about their sexual orientation.

Kopay became a Gay Games Ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games in July 2006 and a year later announced a testamentary pledge of $1 million – nearly half of his estate – to the University of Washington’s Q Center, a resource for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. The Q Center’s mission is to create an inclusive and celebratory environment for people of all sexual orientations.

“David Kopay’s story is important for students to hear because it builds awareness for those not familiar with gay issues,” said Anthony Dewitt, NGLJA student chapter president. “By hearing Kopay’s story, my hope is that students can make informed judgments about LGBT citizens and realize we are just like anyone else. We feel this is a wonderful opportunity for all students, especially those in journalism, to be exposed to other voices they might not otherwise get a chance to listen to.”

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For more information, call (602) 496-0638 or visit " target="_blank">

Media contact:
Marshall Terrill
Information Specialist
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Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

Photography, acrylic-glaze paintings on display at Gammage

October 5, 2010

Three artists will combine their works for a show full of variety at ASU Gammage Oct. 15-Nov. 21.

Audrey Laurence of Mesa will exhibit realistic works of art depicting wildlife, the environment and Asian subjects, created with multiple layers of acrylic glaze. Download Full Image

Joel Hazelton of Phoenix will show digital photographs of scenes from Arizona’s backcountry, printed on metallic paper for beautiful color saturation and a three-dimensional look.

Chikku Baiju of Chandler will display photographs of Arizona landscapes and various national parks in the United States.

Laurence’s interest in wildlife painting began in early youth when she began collecting and illustrating the flora and fauna of her native California. She pursued a master’s degree in art and archaeology at the University of London, then trained in archaeological illustration and worked at the Museum of London.

She then spent a decade studying and working in Tokyo, which led to illustrations for historically themed children’s books. Laurence also traveled extensively in Asia, where she sketched exotic wildlife in their natural setting.

Hazelton, 24, is an avid outdoorsman and considers photography his second love. His photographs convey a sense of emotion, depth and understanding that come from his love of the Arizona backcountry.

His photos are a realistic representation of what he saw through the camera lens, though he does apply post-processing to his photographs, including color saturation, dodging/burning and an occasional exposure blend for dynamic range.

Baiju, who is 19, has been taking digital photographs only for the past three years. “My main area of interest is to capture some of the most beautiful landscapes in Arizona, which are some of the most magical landscapes this planet has to offer.

“I want to show that one can drive just an hour out of Phoenix to see some of these beautiful places,” he said.

Exhibit hours at ASU Gammage are 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays. Due to rehearsals, event set-up, performances, special events and holidays, it is advisable to call (480) 965-6912 or (480) 965-0458 to ensure viewing hours, since they are subject to cancellation without notice.

Visitor parking is available at meters around the perimeter of ASU Gammage. Entrance is through the East Lobby Doors at the Box Office.

For more information, contact Brad Myers, (480) 965-6912, or Bradley.r.myers">">

Media contact:
Judith Smith, jps">">
(480) 965-4821