DCS: blenda gay

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In 1975, The Philadelphia Eagles signed 6 foot 5 inch, 254 pound defensive end Blenda Gay. He became a fixture on the team’s defensive line and played every regular season game for the next two seasons.

In December 1976, Roxanne Gay, Blenda’s wife, slit Blenda’s throat while he slept. Mrs. Gay explained to arresting Camden, New Jersey police officers that her actions were the culmination of years of physical abuse. She had called for police intervention over 20 times, each time claiming physical abuse at the hands of Blenda. She told neighbors that Blenda had a habit of “bouncing her off the walls” with each Eagles’ loss.  Ms. Magazine publisher and women’s rights advocate Gloria Steinem championed Roxanne’s cause and campaigned for funds for her criminal defense.

At trial, a panel of psychiatrists revealed that close study and a long series of interviews and analysis determined that Blenda had not abused his wife, as there was no evidence that beatings had occurred. Diagnosis further revealed that Roxanne was suffering from schizophrenia. She was confined to the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in 1977. She was released from the facility in 1980 and all charges were dropped.

The Eagles played an annual game in Blenda Gay’s memory beginning in 1977.  The “annual” event ended two years later.



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