Gerald "Jerry" Sanford Smith (July 19, 1943 – October 15, 1986) was a professional football tight end for the National Football League's Washington Redskins from 1965–1977. By all accounts, the 6' 3" blonde Smith had a stellar career.
Kids collected Jerry's cards. He played in the 1973 Super Bowl VII. During his football celebrity, Mr. Smith caught 421 passes, including 60 touchdowns, a record at the time. He was named All-Pro twice and held NFL records that stood for years. Jerry was so popular that he even had his very own toy action figure, and sports magazines glorified him. It seemed obvious that the game loved Jerry and Jerry loved the game. Smith was lauded by Sports Illustrated as a top pass catching tight end during his era.
But all that fame, all that praise was professional and not about his personal life. There was something about Jerry that many who knew him suspected: Smith was gay. Many modern sports historians suggest that Jerry was probably considered too-talented to force out of the game based simply on the gay rumors, and indeed there was no need, since masculine Jerry remained in the closet. Many fans believe Smith, based on his sports record, belongs today in the NFL Hall of Fame, and can't understand why he hasn't been recognized when others who achieved much less, have. Many question if the NFL is prepared to recognize a gay player who died of AIDS.
After retiring from football, Jerry co-owned The Boathouse, a gay bar in Austin, Texas. Perhaps, if he had lived in another era, things would have been different and Jerry might have been allowed to quietly remain in the media closet, forever immortalizing his straight professional sports image. But like so many others that were caught in the social fishnet of the AIDS nightmare, that was not to be the case.
Pro football player David Kopay (who was profiled here at VGMH this week) finally "outed" Jerry when Dave came out himself (after Smith had died of AIDS ..becoming the first former professional athlete to die of the disease). In his book, David told the story of their sexual relationship. Although Jerry acknowledged that he had AIDS, Mr. Smith never publicly acknowledged himself as being a gay man. Given that in 2015, the sport culture of pro football continues to showcase itself as being behind the times (domestic violence, drug abuse, cheating) in terms of reality-vs.-mythology of masculinity, we understand, Jerry.
This is an adult-oriented blog that often contains nudity and sexually explicit material. Do not view if you are under 18 years of age, or under age as required by your local laws for viewing adult-only materials in your community.
Nothing presented here is intended to indicate the sexuality or sexual preferances of anyone. VGMH collected this content and should anything belong to you, please contact me and I will gladly remove it: email@example.com. All data and information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only, and makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information, and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. All names, whether for performance or production should be considered fictional stage names. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or otherwise, is purely coincidental. External links to other sites are not intended as endorsements of any content, views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.