Former 1980s-era linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, Jeff Rohrer, came out of the closet in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday and announced that he will marry his boyfriend Joshua Ross in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 18.
Rohrer will become the first known current or former NFL player to be in a same-sex marriage. Rohrer:
“I’m sure there’s going to be some people out there who have a negative reaction to this. And I’m fine with it.”
In the interview, he claimed that if he had come out to his team in the 1980s, he “would have been cut immediately”.
Ross is known as the “aesthetician to the stars” and the founder of SkinLab. Last year he appeared in an episode of The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, giving beauty treatments to Lisa Rinna, Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave and Camille Grammer.
This will be second Rohrer’s marriage; he two teenagers from marriage number one.
Rohrer grew up in Inglewood, California and played football at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach. He was an Ivy League star at Yale and played six seasons in the NFL. He is an Emmy Award award-winning producer of television commercials, including the popular Super Bowl Baby Legends spot for the NFL. Rohrer is also an artist. He has done portraits his former Dallas Cowboys coach, Tom Landry, plus Vince Lombardi and Ted Williams.
The NFL has never had an active player come out as gay, but at least 10 former players have after their retirement.
Michael Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team; the St. Louis Rams signed him in 2014, but he was released after playing in four preseason games. Sam was an All-American and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at University of Missouri, where those charming members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested his playing for the team. After completing his college football career, Sam publicly came out as gay. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes in 2015 and became the first openly gay player to play in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Dave Kopay was a running back for nine years with the San Franciso 49ers, Detroit Lions, Greenbay Packers and Washington Redskins. In 1975, he became the first NFL player to come out when he did a newspaper interview in 1975 after retiring. His memoir The David Kopay Story (1977) was a New York Times Bestseller. In 1986, Kopay revealed he had an affair with Jerry Smith while they both played for the Washington Redskins; Smith died of AIDS without ever having publicly come out of the closet. Their closeted teammate Ray McDonald also died from complications of HIV/AIDS.
The other known former players who busted down the closet door are: Roy Simmons, Esera Tuaolo, Kwame Harris, Ryan O’Callaghan, Wade Davis, Dorien Bryant, Brad Thorson.
Smith is the most accomplished player on the list. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, and was named to the Redskins’ Ring of Fame. He finished his career with 5,496 receiving yards and 60 touchdowns.
World of Wonder wishes Rohrer and Ross the very best on their special day, and maybe a little tackling later.