Blenda Gay

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Blenda Gay
No. 68
Date of birth November 22, 1950
Place of birth Greenville, North Carolina, United States
Date of death December 20, 1976(1976-12-20) (aged 26)
Place of death Camden, New Jersey, United States
Career information
Position(s) Defensive end
College Fayetteville State University
NFL draft 1973 / Round: Supplemental, Oakland Raiders
Career history
As player
1974 San Diego Chargers
1975–1976 Philadelphia Eagles

Blenda Glen Gay (November 22, 1950 – December 20, 1976) was a defensive end in the National Football League. He played three seasons in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles and is notable for his 1976 murder by his wife Roxanne.


Blenda Gay attended H. B. Sugg High School in Farmville, North Carolina. After high school, he attended Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. There he started on the football team winning all-CIAA and Division II All-American.[1]

Gay was drafted in the 1973 NFL supplemental draft by the Oakland Raiders but was cut in training camp.[2] He was picked up in 1974 by the San Diego Chargers and saw action in two games. He had also played for a semi-pro football team called the Model City Diplomats for $75 per game.[3]

In 1975, Gay was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles where he became a regular fixture on the defensive line for two seasons. Gay played in every regular season game for the Eagles in both 1975 and 1976.[4]


In December, 1976, Roxanne Gay cut her husband's throat as he slept, killing him. She was charged with the murder by the Camden County, New Jersey district attorney. Roxanne claimed that the attack on her husband was purely self-defense and alleged that her husband was extremely violent and abusive. Camden police indicated that she had made over 20 calls to the police in three and a half years. Neighbors claimed that after an Eagles' loss, Gay "bounced his wife off the walls".[5] His wife had signed a complaint against Gay after one hospital stay, but later dropped the complaint.[5]

The case became a cause célèbre for the feminist movement due to the allegations of long-term domestic violence. Gloria Steinem and Ms. magazine helped raise money for her defense. Ms. magazine alleged that when Roxanne called the police, officers would often discuss football with Blenda.[6]

A panel of psychiatrists in a sanity hearing found that Blenda Gay had not abused his wife and Roxanne Gay's attorney admitted that there was no evidence that the beatings had occurred.[5] Ultimately, Roxanne Gay was determined to be schizophrenic and confined to the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.[3] All charges were dropped.[5] She was released in 1980.[7]


  1. ^ Whitted, Fred (2000). Fayetteville, North Carolina (Google Books). Arcadia Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 0-7385-0593-5. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  2. ^ Oakland Raiders Draft History,
  3. ^ a b Ray Didinger; Robert S. Lyons (2005). The Eagles Encyclopedia. Temple University Press. p. 248. ISBN 1-59213-449-1. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  4. ^ Philadelphia Eagles All-Time Stats, Philadelphia Archived March 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b c d Jones, Ann (1996). Women Who Kill (Google Books). Beacon Press. p. 287. ISBN 0-8070-6775-X. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  6. ^ Martha McCaughey (1997). Real knockouts. NYU Press. ISBN 0-8147-5577-1. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  7. ^ "Wife of Slain Football Player Gay Completes Psychiatric Treatment". 1980. p. 47. 

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