David Kopay made history when he came out in 1975 as the first openly gay former NFL player, and was among the first openly gay professional athletes in general.
Kopay, who now resides in Palm Springs, was a pro running back from 1964-1972 on several teams including the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.
Those years, he says in a new interview aired on KESQ NewsChannel 3, were spent in constant fear that his athletic career would be ruined if his secret came out. But after contemplating suicide, he decided to speak up.
“I had to be true to myself. I was becoming so, so depressed that I felt I was locked up and suffocating,” Kopay said.
The feature aired Sunday ahead of Super Bowl LV.