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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Topics In the News
 
Closeted NFL Star Jerry Smith Subject of Frank Documentary
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/17/14
Last updated on: 01/17/14
 
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A documentary entitled Jerry Smith: A Football Life, produced by Paul Monusky, airs on the NFL Network on January 21, 2014. Smith, who died of AIDS on October 15, 1986, was a genuine NFL superstar. Because of the frankness with which it explores Smith's closeted homosexuality, the documentary promises to be what Monusky describes as a "groundbreaker."

Smith, a tight end who played for the Washington Redskins from 1965 to 1977, retired with an NFL record of 60 receiving touchdowns, a record that stood for 26 years. He also played in two Pro Bowls, was named to an All-Pro team, and played in a Super Bowl.

Although the first NFL player to come out, David Kopay, has spoken of his brief affair with Smith, the tight end's sexuality is still not widely known beyond glbtq sports fans. As David Mixner has observed, "It was the worst-kept secret in the gay community and the best-kept secret in the straight community."

The documentary reportedly confronts head-on the difficulties Smith faced living a closeted life and the costs he feared he would have had to pay had he come out.

The documentary will feature interviews with Kopay and Mixner among many others, including Smith's younger brother and 11 former NFL players.

The documentary airs at 9:00 EST on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, and will be repeated throughout the week on the NFL channel.

Following the documentary will be a thirty-minute program entitled A Football Life: Back Story, which will discuss the documentary and explore Smith's life further. Mixner will also participate in that show, along with Smith's former teammates Brigg Owens and Calvin Hill.

A trailer for the documentary may be found here.

 
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