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Author Topic: Did Marvin Gaye try out for the Detroit Lions?
Mrs Lady
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I seem to remember hearing once on the radio (don't remember when or where) that Marvin Gaye tried out to play for the Detroit Lions. I thought it was not long before his death, but as my boyfriend so lovingly pointed out, "That's insane! He would've been 40 years old!" So it probably wasn't later in life. Did he try out when he was young? Can anyone confirm or deny this? Or am I totally goofy? Thanks.

Mrs "long time lurker, first time poster" Lady

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Midway Bill: Munster from the Id
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Well according to this article in the Detroit Free Press he talked about it, but I doubt he was in any shape to perform in an actual try-out.

Gaye was friends with some Lions' players and they are heard during the "party" at the beginning of What's Going On. Perhaps they let him throw the ball around at practices, but I'd seriously doubt it went any further.

Midway

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Silence Dogood
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Hmm. I had always heard that it was the '71 L.A. Lakers that are heard at the beginning of that album. 'Course, I could be wrong.

From this page from the Detroit Free Press comes this quote:
quote:
He continued to record during her [Tammi Terrell's] illness, including the brilliant "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," but with her death in 1971 of a brain tumor, he talked of leaving music entirely for a quixotic quest to join the Detroit Lions professional football team.
There's also this page.

Edit: okay, looks like I *was* wrong about the Lakers. Don't know where I'd heard that, but it apparently wasn't them. Here's another quote:
quote:
Marvin Gaye had decided to become a professional football player for the hometown Detroit Lions. That he had never played the game before didn't appear to bother him. His hubris blithely ignored that, at 31, he was already well past professional prime. In his own mind, he had made football players recording stars - or would, if Motown ever released the damned record. How difficult could it be to make a recording star a football player?

By the time the Lions were readying themselves for pre-season workouts, Marvin actually looked like the athlete he'd always wanted to be. "He was running around with the football players," Hank Cosby remembers, "they showed him how to work his body and what to do. He changed from a skinny little guy to this 200-pound monster."

All the same, Obie Benson still laughs at the thought of Marvin in the blue and silver uniform of the Detroit Lions: "I told him that the girls screaming and hollering for him when he sang were the wives of the players, and that the guys on the field would be waiting for him. 'They been playing football all their lives, and you just start and think you're gonna waltz on to the field and make the team? They gonna kill you, man!'"

They never got the chance. Nobody in the Lions' management wanted to risk the repercussions of injuring a national treasure, so the joking offer of a try-out that the coach had made during a post-game celebration the previous season was nixed by the higher-ups. Marvin didn't take the news well, continuing to insist, despite any evidence to support him, that on the field he could have been a contender.

That's from this page.

Silence"mercy mercy me"Dogood

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snopes
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quote:
I seem to remember hearing once on the radio (don't remember when or where) that Marvin Gaye tried out to play for the Detroit Lions.
He did, but he quit when he found there were no women on the team to beat up.

- snopes

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