Weekly media column version 03.07.14 — Why would Dodgers suddenly pull the signal on over-the-air coverage when so many L.A. TV homes rely on it?

What made it into this week’s media column:

Bh6xQQkCEAIaBEFThe Dodgers’ launch of their own SportsNet L.A. reinfoces the shameful reality that not only those with access to any cable or dish provider outside of Time Warner Cable are cut off, but so too are those who rely on the antenna over-the-air signal — 13 percent of the 5.7 million homes in Southern California’s TV market. The Dodgers have no plans of making any of their SportsNet L.A. games accessible to a local carrier, such as KCAL-Channel 9, which had 50 games last year. Meanwhile, those customers of DirecTV, Comcast, Cox, Verizon FiOS and AT&T Uverse sit and wait. And wait.
“It’s like we’re all being held hostage by billion-dollar companies, and as fans, we know it is what it is, we’re going to see our bills go higher, but why can’t they just get it done?” said Roger Arrieta, a 41-year-old graphic designer from West Covina who came up with this piece of work (above) to depict what Dodgers fans are going through while he chronicles it for his DodgersBeat.com blog.
More notes are included on the KTLA-Channel 5 coverage of the L.A. Marathon, NBC Sports Net’s plans for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games from Sochi, Russia and why Fox decided to go with Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci as Tim McCarver’s replacement on its national MLB game broadcasts.

What didn’t but could have made it in: Continue reading

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Who’s who 50 years later: The Koufax-Kershaw connection continues

kershawWith all the comparisons made between Dodgers’ Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax, maybe this one presents a tangible visual that links the current to the past.

Those of us who grew up awaiting the arrival of the “Who’s Who in Baseball” ink-drenched paperback that listed every current big-leaguers most basic of bios, complete with a year-to-year statistical breakdown (majors and minors) and then the list of lettered references to times spent on the disabled list along with transaction comments, it pretty much signaled the arrival of the season.

$T2eC16RHJGMFFpcQV,r(BSKTCTf0jg~~60_57Track down the latest issue of “Who’s Who” at the local newsstand, and flash back to the cover 50 years prior. Maybe this is what they mean by coming full circle.

To contrast and compare: They’ve kept basically the same type faces, spot color and size. It’s only gone up from 60 cents in 1964 to $9.95 — maybe because there are almost 275 more players to catalog.

It is still published by the Who’s Who in Baseball Magazine Co., in New York. What’s new for Who’s Who: It’s now available in digital form as an iTunes app for smart phones and iPads.

The last page of the current edition also trumpets the arrival of the 100th edition in 2015, allowing you to pre-order it now for $11.95. In stock are also copies from the 2000s decade ($35 each), most of the ’90s ($35) and ’80s ($70) and a few from the ’70s ($85).
This 1964 cover of Koufax comes via several eBay.com sales, some of which are buy it as-is for $19.95. One issue available goes back to 1940, the eighth edition, currently listed at $70.

This is the only year we can find with Koufax by himself on the cover in action; he shared the cover as a mugshot in ’66 and ’67 (a year after he retired). This is also the first time Kershaw is on the cover in full form. Don Drysdale was on the cover in 1960 with an extended mug shot, and full pitching form in 1963.

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Play It Forward: March 3-9 on the sports calendar — how fast can you run away from traffic caused by the L.A. Marathon?

marathon-dodgersTHIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

NO. 1: 29th LOS ANGELES MARATHON:
Details/TV: Sunday at 7 a.m., Channel 5:
asics-la-marathon-logo_verticalThey say the field is ultimately limited to 25,000, and still more get in. Inside that mass of shoe laces, there’s another group at 185 strong and, regrettably, shrinking. The “Legacy Runners” who have competed in every Los Angeles Marathon since the first one in 1986 plan on being there for the 29th edition for the race that starts at Dodger Stadium, ends near the Santa Monica Pier, and passes by iconic L.A. landmarks such as City Hall, the Pantages Theatre, Hollywood and Vine, Rodeo Drive and Palisades Park along the way. At the race’s official website – lamarathon.com – you can read some of the “Legacy” stories. Aimee Wyatt, for example, is the youngest legacy runner at age 44. That’s because she started as a 16-year-old — when the legal age allowed to enter was 18. “Our father agreed it was a fine idea,” she says. “Our mother doesn’t remember us fudging our ages a little, and now I see kids that look about 12 doing it – go, kids, go!” Al Allen of Inglewood, who will turn 69 next month, has been running to raise money for breast cancer since his oldest sister, Ina, died of the disease the first year of the marathon. Arlene Fichman, a 59-year-old registered nurse from Brentwood, almost had her streak end because of her battle with Graves Disease, a thyroid condition. With a quick medication adjustment, she ran the 2010 race in under four hours, second in her age group. And Rick Wallace, a 56-year-old raised in Woodland Hills, a graduate of Simi Valley High and Pepperdine University and a Malibu realtor, says what lured him to the race originally was getting to cross the finish line near the Coliseum.
laMarathonThat site for the start/finish line has is ancient history, as this 26-mile-plus direct route from downtown to the beach has caught on to be more popular. Maybe the greatest challenge for all these legacy runners – as well as for those in it for the first time – is they’ve decided to hold this thing as daylight savings begins. Meaning, the clock springs forward, so there’s an hour of lost sleep to deal with. The full-field start, along with the men’s elite runners, is at 7:25 a.m. The women’s elite field begins at 7:10 a.m., after the competitors in the wheelchair (6:55 a.m.) and hand-cycle (6:50 a.m.). More important, do you know about street closures?

LAM-Start_0BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

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Q and A: Jeff Pearlman shows how the Lakers’ “Showtime” still resonates 30 years later

SportsIllustrated.com

SportsIllustrated.com

When Jeff Pearlman began doing research on a book he wanted to write about the Lakers’ “Showtime” era of the 1980s – it involved a two-year-process and about 300 interviews – someone asked him about whether the state of the current Lakers would make any difference in how the project was received.

Meaning, would it be better if these Lakers were pointed toward another NBA title or if they were on a lull and about to miss the playoffs.

jeff-pearlman“This was right after the Lakers got Dwight Howard (in August, 2012),” said Pearlman, the former Sports Illustrated writer and author of several New York Times’ best-selling books. “My thought was that if the Lakers were playing great, everyone would be celebrating how great this team was, and might overlook the book.

“But, still, I didn’t want them to be this bad. This is kind of ridiculous. It doesn’t seem right that the Lakers are this terrible. It’s hard to watch.

“It’s so funny how a team can go stale so quickly. There’s Lakers jerseys hanging in the store now that look so stale. Even the Kobe jersey looks like something for a retired player, right next to the Steve Nash jersey.”

Pearlman was admitting as much as he sat in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in L.A. Live on Friday night, as fans dressed in their purple and gold – some of them in Bryant jerseys — were heading over to Staples Center to actually witness a game between the Lakers and Sacramento Kings.

Even with the Lakers’ 126-122 triumph, they still trailed the Kings at the bottom of the Western Conference.

So, anyone want to call a time out and relive some “Showtime” now?

For the record, Pearlman does, and did, with an excavation process that would have made the scientists at the La Brea Tar Pits even relive some goose-bump moments.

Screen-shot-2013-06-27-at-10.22.34-PMIn “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” (Gotham Books, 482 pages, $30, released Tuesday),” Pearlman polishes off some gems we don’t believe we’ve read before, or couldn’t have known at all had he not traveled around the country to meet up again with those who lived it first hand.

Pearlman explains not just the process, but how the final product produces a whole never level of understanding about that Lakers’ run that produced five NBA titles between the time Jerry Buss took over the team from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979 until Magic Johnson’s first retirement in 1991:

Q: How did someone like you, a kid growing up in New York in the 1980s, view the Lakers and “Showtime” from all those miles away? Was it as big as a Springsteen concert would have been during that period in his heyday?
A
: I think of Michael Jackson, doing the moonwalk for the first time, and we’re all watching it on some awards show and we’re like, “Oh, my God.” To me, that’s what it more like. Dazzling. The Lakers to me, it’s kinda weird – I grew up in a very white, sheltered town and everyone there like St. John’s over Georgetown, because it was the “white team.” But I was in a very liberal, hippy-dippy house where we could root for the athletes with the big Afros, the colorful names, players like Garry Templeton, Ken Griffey Sr. And the Lakers, to me, were better to root for than the “white” Celtics because they were cool, Magic was the coolest guy ever, a 6-foot-9 point guard, looking right, looking left, passing . . . Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes . . . they were fancy, snazzy to me, exciting, explosive and dynamic. Besides, I was a fan of the New Jersey Nets, and they were terrible. I remember when they drafted Pearl Washington, and that was a big deal. With Otis Birdsong and Darwin Cook and Mike Gminski. Continue reading

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Weekly media column version 02.28.13 — A modest proposal for those involved in the Dodger-SportsNet L.A. negotiations

Employees of the SportsNet L.A. operations at Time Warner Cable Sports' offices in El Segundo gather in the conference room to watch the channel's launch on Tuesday night. (Photo from SportsNet L.A. via Getty Images)

Employees of the SportsNet L.A. operations, including president David Rone (in blue jacket at table, left), gather in a conference room at Time Warner Cable Sports’ offices in El Segundo to watch the channel’s launch on Tuesday night. (Photo from SportsNet L.A. via Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

What made it into our weekly media roundup of extended paragraphs:
CM3391It’s early in the process for those haves and have-nots in the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel, considering we’re only two games into the exhibition season. Time Warner Cable subscribers, about two million of them in Southern California, are on board. Another two million that include subscribers of DirecTV, Cox, Charter, Dish, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS, aren’t there yet.
But what if a dish or cable operator proposed this scenario: We’ll take the channel, at the price TWC is asking, but only for eight months of the year — when the games are on, between March 1 and Nov. 1. The other four months, we’re not interested.
Would that fly? Maybe we’ll find out. Who’s game?
Other notes include the announcement of the new Larry King show on SportsNet L.A., Colleen Dominguez’s hiring by Fox Sports and Craig James’ beef with Fox Sports.

What didn’t make it into the column and notebook, but are featured here instead:

== Wait, TWC is raising their rates again, because of the fallout with having to carry CBS? It’s called a $2.25 “broadcast TV fee.” How sweet.

== SportsNet L.A. announced Thursday that 75 Dodgers games in Spanish will be made available to those carriers who take the team-owned channel, with a schedule of 150 coming in 2015. Jorge Jarrin, son of Dodgers’ Hall of Famer Jaime Jarrin, will do play-by-play with Manny Mota as the analyst. The first telecast will be April 4, the Dodgers’ home opener against San Francisco, and have its own production team on-site with its own graphics and audio feed. TWC will offer the Spanish-language games on Channel 382 (high def). More information: www.sportsnetla.com at the “espanol” link.

== ICYMI: We did a Q-and-A on the SportsNet L.A. launch that appeared on Tuesday’s debut. And you know how this Dodgers’ radio thing is going to work out, right?

 (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

==The Dodgers-San Francisco game from Dodger Stadium on April 5 will be part of the new Fox Sports 1 MLB package of telecast package that Fox announced Thursday. A combined 52 games will be on Fox’s network (KTTV-Channel 11 in Los Angeles) and FS1, including 20 Saturdays of doubleheaders. The Dodgers-Giants’ 1 p.m. start comes on FS1 after the network carries Minnesota-Cleveland at 10 a.m., which could result in some missed early innings.
Future games taken from the Dodgers’ new SportsNet L.A. schedule — don’t think the folks at DirecTV are making note of this — as well as from the Angels’ coverage on Prime Ticket include a doubleheader on Saturday, April 19 — FS1 has the Angels at Detroit at 10 a.m., followed by the Dodgers hosting Arizona at 5 p.m.
The Dodgers are also locked into FS1 games on Saturday, May 10 (home vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.) and Saturday, July 19 (at St. Louis, 1 p.m.). And so far they will also be part of Fox’s regional broadcast on Saturday, May 31 (home vs. Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.) and Saturday, June 28 (home vs. St. Louis, 4 p.m.).
The Angels are also on FS1 on Saturday, April 26 (at N.Y. Yankees, 10 a.m.) and Saturday, June 21 (home vs. Texas, 7 p.m.), and on Fox’s regional broadcasts on  Saturday, May 24 (vs. Kansas City, 4 p.m.), Saturday, June 14 (at Atlanta, 4 p.m.), and Saturday, July 12 (at Texas, 4 p.m.).
Continue reading

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For that Dodger fan demo of 89-and-older, Larry King gets his own show on SportsNet L.A.

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Larry King warns us in this video clip on SportsNetLA.com  that he’ll be launching his own “Larry King At Bat” interview show starting March 18, sure to lure more cable and dish operators beyond Time Warner Cable to sign up for the channel sooner, while King is still alive, rather than later.
In a Dodger press release noting that Kings is a season-seat holder, the former CNN talk-show giant made his pitch:

“I have been a Dodger fan all my life.  I am happy to be a part of SportsNet LA, the new 24/7 Dodgers television network. With my love of sports and my interviewing skills, I think it will be a happy combo.  I am looking forward to a great year!”

There may have been more to King’s statement, but sources say he nodded off after that quote, mumbling something about how Leo Durocher still owed him money.

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So, about the Dodgers’ radio coverage, in the presumed absence of a Vin Scullly call …

e1fba20036610e1333223c5d24972873Somewhat overlooked in the propagandizing process of the Dodgers launching their new TV channel, pulling guys here and there to be part of studio shows, game analysts and reporter types, is who’ll be pulling up a chair to man the radio booth on a daily basis for the 2014 season.

It’s a fluid concept, they tell us. Probably for the better of everyone.

Meaning, on a typical game that’s televised by SportsNet L.A. — about 150 of them, if they’re not taken by ESPN or Fox – Vin Scully does the nine innings on TV, and KLAC-AM (570) simulcasts the first three as usual. Then, the radio team of Charley Steiner and Rick Monday goes the rest of the way.

On games when Scully isn’t involved — roadies beyond the NL West borders — Steiner moves to TV with Orel Hershiser, and Monday moves from analyst to play-by-play on the radio, partnered with Nomar Garciaparra.

However …

There will be some mix-and-match opportunities along the way, sometimes without notice, depending on the need for someone to be at the El Segundo studios for pre- and post-game, at the stadium for pre- and post-game, etc.

So with the exhibition season starting Wednesday, here’s a sample of how KLAC-AM (570) will prepare with a variety of partnerships:

=Wednesday, vs. Arizona in Phoenix, 12:10 p.m.: Steiner and Monday (pregame at 11:30 a.m.)
=Thursday, vs. Arizona in Glendale, Ariz., 12:05 p.m.: Steiner and Monday
=Friday, vs. Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=Saturday, vs. Milwaukee, 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=Sunday, vs. San Diego, 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra

Monday vs. Oakland, Tuesday vs. Seattle: No radio coverage
=March 5 vs. Cincinnati, 6:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=March 6 vs. Angels, 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=March 7 vs. Texas, 12:05 p.m., Monday (solo, unless they add someone)
=March 8 vs. Texas (SS), 12:05 p.m., Steiner and Monday
=March 9 vs. San Francisco, 1:05 p.m. (daylight savings kicks in) Monday (solo)

March 10 vs. Oakland, March 11 vs. Kansas City: No radio coverage
=March 12 vs. Arizona: Monday (solo)
=March 13 vs. Cincinnati, March 14 vs. Chicago Cubs, March 15 vs. San Diego: No radio (UCLA involved in Pac-12 basketball tournament)
=March 16 vs. Colorado, 1:05 p.m., Steiner and Monday

March 21 vs. Team Australia, 1 a.m., no radio coverage
*-March 22-23 vs. Arizona in Australia, 1 a.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Saturday PDT: Steiner and Monday (regular season games)

=March 27-29 vs. Angels, Steiner and Monday

The Dodgers’ Spanish-language partner, KTNQ-AM (1020) has Wednesday’s opener, as well as March 1-2, March 8-9, March 15-16 and March 28.

The way it’ll work this spring on the SportsNet L.A. TV coverage: Scully does Wednesday and Thursday’s games. He’s also back for Sunday, March 9 and Sunday, March 16. Then he’s in Australia for the two regular-season games against Arizona, and back for the March 27-29 series against the Angels. When he’s away, Steiner and Hershiser do the TV broadcasts.

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If you don’t have your Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel by Tuesday’s launch, is your provider out to lunch?

on-offIf you’re remotely interested in being part of the Dodgers’ new SportsNet L.A. channel launch, you’ve got to have your remote control ready, aimed and firing.

But depending on whom you’re beholden to as a program carrier, you could get as tripped up in the process as a hitter might be trying to react to a Clayton Kershaw changeup.

The Dodgers-owned channel that goes live at 7 p.m. Tuesday night is only available for now in Southern California to the two million or so who are a Time Warner Cable subscriber. Another handful who have Bright House in Bakersfield are in as well.

The rest are to be determined. And, perhaps, undermined.

Just understand that for Wednesday’s first exhibition game against Arizona at 12:10 p.m., there’s no more Prime Ticket, and no more KCAL Channel 9 – and it could be that way for a few more weeks, or months, or . . .

Let’s look at this it this way:

BeryDjGCMAAC2wCQ: What is the sticking point causing everyone else but TWC to be there from the start?
A:
The subscriber price of the channel, which most claim to be not at high as the $5 reported recently but more in the $4.50 range. But that is the price negotiated between distributor and the carrier, not what is ultimately passed on fully to the customer. However, as monthly bills rise, and surcharges are added, it’s pretty simple math as to what’s propelling it. Sports channels like SportsNet L.A., coming 18 months after the launch of the Laker-heavy TWC SportsNet and TWC Deportes, weigh heavily in this equation. So Cal systems also continue to carry Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket (despite the loss of the Dodgers and Lakers) at a nominal fee. Some also have also added the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports 1 to the mix.
“We’re at a different time in the industry since the Lakers’ channels launched,” said Ed Desser, head of the Santa Monica-based Desser Sports Media, Inc., and a consultant to the Lakers in their hook up with  TWC. “We’ve had a Time Warner and Comcast arrangement take place, Dish Network deciding it didn’t want the Lakers, both telecos (AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS) expanding their distribution, DirecTV becoming a more mature business without the benefit of a data service augmenting its video service.
“With all these things converging at the same time come into play when you’re thinking about how each service will serve its constituents on Wall Street, its shareholders and its subscribers, and also worry about maintaining its cost structures. It’s a very interesting puzzle for each to figure out.”

Q: How invested is Time Warner Cable? Continue reading

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Play it Forward: Feb. 24 to March 2 — It’s only the start to an exhibition schedule, but Dodgers and Angels fans exhibit enthusiasm for it

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Yasiel Puig gets some help before he leaves the Camelback Ranch locker room to start workouts recently. (L.A. Dodgers/Jon SooHoo)

Yasiel Puig gets some help before he leaves the Camelback Ranch locker room to start workouts recently. (L.A. Dodgers/Jon SooHoo)

NO. 1: MLB EXHIBITION: DODGERS vs. ARIZONA
Details/TV: At Phoenix, Wednesday at 12:10 p.m., SportsNet L.A.

Yasiel PuigSo the skinny on Yasiel Puig is he’s put on a few pounds – he’s gone beyond the 250 mark upon entering the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz. He’s already been held out a couple of days’ worth of drills because of swelling above his right knee, the result of fouling a ball of his leg in batting practice. He has also been told to cut back on his long throws from the outfield after mentioning some shoulder soreness – coincidentally, as Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax voiced the opinion that the kid should dial it back a bit this early in the year.
Yasiel PuigThen there’s a video up on Sports Illustrated’s website off the Dodgers’ Vine account showing Puig drilling a pitch from teammate Kenley Jansen that must have landed somewhere by the In-N-Out beyond the Agua Fria Freeway. With all that’s going on around the 23-year-old, maybe he deserves to have his own cable channel, just to make sure we don’t miss anything on the daily run sheet.
In a way, such a thing exists. As the Dodgers launch their own SportsNet L.A. channel this week, just in time for the exhibition season to start, Puig’s every questionable move can be watched.

(AP Photos/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photos/Paul Sancya)

Kind of like that baby monitor you’ve hooked up to make sure all’s good in the crib when it’s out of view. In less than three weeks, selected members of the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will fly thousands of miles south of Arizona, and play two regular-season games in Australia to officially start the 2014 Major League Baseball season, and then come back wondering why they really agreed to do all that. Since the two teams were allowed to start spring training earlier than the other 28, it’s only proper these budding NL West rivals have the first exhibition game of the Grapefruit Season. Vin Scully will call it. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch in it. Perhaps Puig will play in it. And references to “The Wild Horse” Version 2.0 will be game ready.
If only the Angels could figure out a way to do the same kind of 24/7 coverage of that Mike Trout character …

puig-ddtThe rest of the Dodgers’ exhibition week:
vs. Arizona in Glendale, Ariz., Thursday at 12:10 p.m.
vs. Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., Friday at 12:10 p.m.
vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, Saturday at 12:10 p.m.
vs. San Diego at Glendale, Ariz., Sunday at 12:10 p.m.

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Angels’ exhibition schedule begins with:
vs. Chicago Cubs in Tempe, Ariz., Friday at 12:05 p.m., FSWest
vs. Seattle in Peoria, Ariz., Saturday at 12:05 p.m., Prime Ticket
vs. Oakland in Tempe, Ariz., Sunday at 12:05 p.m., FSWest

 

THE BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

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Q-and-A: The payoff for David Kopay is watching Michael Sam accepted as the NFL player he deserves to be

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Saturday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Saturday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam found himself standing before a packed room of reporters Saturday afternoon at the NFL’s combine in Indianapolis.

“Heck yeah, I wish you guys would tell me, ‘Michael Sam, how’s football going?’” the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year admitted. “I would love for you to ask me that question, but it is what it is.

“I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam, the football player, instead of Michael Sam, the gay football player.”

25_12_Jock_Talk_46_LRGDavid Kopay listened and paused when he heard that quote.

“I wish I had that opportunity,” the 71-year-old said.

The events of Saturday were already weighing on Kopay’s mind.

A bruising running back during his nine-year NFL career out of the University of Washington and Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, Kopay was trying to process some disturbing information he had gathered earlier in the day from a symposium in San Francisco. It was about the issues of long-term cognitive impairment caused by concussions, something he has been coming to terms with in his own life.

He was also en route to visiting his 99-year-old mother, Marguerite, who lives north of Sacramento. “I haven’t had the best of patience with her,” he said with a forced laugh.

But then there was Sam, someone who gives him some hope that things are getting better.

91n1RBeKVKLIn 1977, Kopay wrote a ground-breaking autobiography that expanded on the moment in December, 1975 when he outed himself in a Washington Star newspaper story. The years between 1964 and ’72 he spent with the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers may have come during the counterculture, sexual revolution period in America, but he hardly felt liberated as a professional athlete.

“I had to battle everything,” Kopay said Saturday. “I’m just glad I survived. Survived to see all this happen.”

This fall, after all the maneuvering done during the NFL Draft in May, Sam will become the first openly-gay active player in any of the four North American major professional sports leagues. That is, unless some NBA team decides to pick up center Jason Collins, the former Harvard Westlake High standout, to help them during the second half of this season.

Kopay, who lives in Eagle Rock near Occidental College, actually found out that Sam’s coming-out announcement on Feb. 8, the day before it happened. Kopay was invited to a dinner at the home of Los Angeles publicist Howard Bragman, where former NFL player Wade Davis (who came out in 2012) and former Loyola Marymount University and Dodgers outfielder Billy Bean (who came out in 1999) were present. Also there was former NFL and UCLA standouts Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, whose pro careers may have ended prematurely because of their pro gay-rights issues stance.

They all raised a glass to toast Sam’s decision.

Kopay explains more: Continue reading

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