I’m excited to report on a new campaign that aims to end homophobia in sports by promoting the not-so-radical idea that athletes should be judged by talent, heart and work ethic, and not sexual orientation.
As first reported in the NY Times, the “You Can Play” campaign is intended to “make locker rooms safe for all athletes, rather than places of fear, slurs and bullying. Check out the introductory PSA, centering on hockey, below!
But the campaign is especially important when considered in the context of today’s professional sports culture. The NFL only recently added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination language and has not exactly picked up a reputation for being staunch advocates of sexual assault victims.
As I wrote a few months ago when Michael Irvin, the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, posed for the cover of Out Magazine to show his support for equality, seeing professional athletes whose public image is one of hyper-masculinity speak publicly about the importance of equality is pretty great. Back in June when the San Francisco Giants became the first major sports team to release an “It Gets Better” video, it was a warm and fuzzy moment as well.
So I’m glad this campaign exists. I hope that it will make a difference and inspire all athletes, not just male hockey players, to vocally supporting the ever-increasing number of openly gay people on their teams and in their communities, and get involved in pro-equality politics.