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Progress On Feature Based On Life Of Glenn Burke - 1st Openly Gay Major League Baseball Player

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by Tambay A. Obenson
March 3, 2014 3:24 PM
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Glenn Burke
Glenn Burke

As more gay athletes *out* themselves, inspiring lots of conversation on professional athletes who happen to be gay, it shouldn't be a big surprise that there's maybe more interest than ever before in film and TV projects highlighting the contributions of gay athletes to professional sports.

Jamie Lee Curtis and JUMA Entertainment are hoping all the attention will help push forward a film she's apparently been trying to get made for years, on Major League Baseball player, Glenn Burke (photo above), based his autobiography Out At Home: The Glenn Burke Story.

Who's Glenn Burke?

Glenn Burke was the first openly gay Major League Baseball player, which he revealed in 1982 in an Inside Sports magazine article and then on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel.

He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1976 as an outfielder, and, as a rookie, started during the 1977 World Series. He was soon traded to the Oakland A's as rumors about his sexuality began to swirl. 

He is said to have been already *out* to his family and friends, so he wasn't hiding it, adding that, "by 1978 I think everybody knew,"  he was "sure his teammates didn't care."

Burke would eventually leave the A's shortly after his arrival in Oakland, when he started to feel that he wasn't welcomed because of his sexuality, and he eventually retired from baseball at the age of 27. 

"Prejudice drove me out of baseball sooner than I should have," Burke said in an interview with the New York Times in 1994. 

A year later, he passed away from AIDS-related complications in May 1995 at the age of 42.

Burke is also credited with inventing the high five.

There was a 2010 documentary on his life, titled Out. The Glenn Burke Story.

Glenn Burke changed the world forever with that one hand slap [...] Yesterday, Jason Collins changed the world forever when he told the truth. It’s a moment of truth that the world has been waiting for,” said Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s producing the film with Robert Horowitz.

And announced today, Ross Katz (The Laramie Project) has signed on adapt to screenplay Out At Home: The Glenn Burke Story, joining JUMA Entertainment’s Jamie Lee Curtis and Robert Horowitz as producers of the film.

With Michael Sam’s brave and bold statement, he joins the Trifecta of American sports, Glenn Burke – MLB, Jason Collins – NBA, Michael Sam – NFL , dealing with gay athletes, and forcing open the door permanently,” said Curtis. “Our film will clearly honor the force and the struggle to get there.

Michael Sam is the University of Missouri football star who recently publicly came out as gay. If he were to be signed by an NFL team, which analysts think is likely, he would become the first active NFL player to have declared his homosexuality publicly.

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