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Homophobia In Sports
# 1 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 00:00
This is for all sports, not just football or hurling.

One of the more macho sports is ice hockey.
Guaranteed fights in every game and not one player has his own front teeth. It's very popular here and in Canada, Russia and many of the Scandinavian countries. NHL, NHLPA team with You Can Play to combat homophobia Patrick Burke believes the fight against homophobia in sports has taken a huge step forward.

The NHL and National Hockey League Players' Association announced Thursday they are partnering with the You Can Play Project, an organization aimed at eliminating homophobia in athletics.

Burke founded the You Can Play Project in March 2012 in memory of his younger brother Brendan, who died in a car accident in 2010, three years after coming out to his family.

"This is something that is set in stone that can't be changed," said Burke, a scout with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and the son of former NHL general manager Brian Burke. "The NHL is inclusive. If you're a player, if you're a coach, if you're a media member, if you're management of if you're a fan it's now set in stone, signed and sealed by the lawyers that the NHL and the NHL players want to include you."

Other partnerships could soon follow, said Burke.

"I think what we're doing is setting the blueprint now," he said. "Other leagues are talking to different groups, including us, and trying to figure out the way that they want to go.

"I think this is a sign, a very clear sign that we're able to handle this."

Burke said the You Can Play Project has been working with the NHL and its players' union since shortly after the program's inception.

"Right around our one-year anniversary, at that point the league and NHLPA were comfortable enough with the work we had done that we all began speaking about making it official," Burke said. "But it really came together in the past week."

You Can Play will conduct seminars at the NHL's rookie symposium and make its resources and personnel available to each individual team as desired.

The NHL and NHLPA will work with You Can Play to integrate the project into their Behavioral Health Program to enable players to confidentially seek counselling or simply ask questions about sexual orientation issues.

"Our motto is 'Hockey Is For Everyone,' and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "While we believe that our actions in the past have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players' Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker-rooms and in the stands."
On board since the beginning

NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said the players have been on board with You Can Play since the beginning.

"The players believe our partnership with the NHL and You Can Play will foster an inclusive hockey environment from the grassroots level to the professional ranks," he said in a release.

Brian Burke as well as NHL players Tommy Wingels and Andy Miele serve on You Can Play's advisory board.

Currently, no athlete in North America's four major professional leagues — NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball — has publicly revealed he's gay. Last week, free-agent NFL linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo — a former CFL player who has been a vocal supporter of gay marriage — said he believed as many as four current NFL players were considering coming out.

He later backtracked, saying "potentially it's possible" the players could all come out at the same time.

Regardless, Patrick Burke said it's only a matter of time before a gay pro athlete steps forward. Burke believes when that happens, both professional sports and society will be ready to accept it.

"We're always going to have some meatheads," he said. "When the first player comes out there's going to be someone on Twitter who says something stupid and someone in the stands who yells something stupid.

"But I'm not worried about them. We've got the vast majority of NHL fans [who] have our back and we have theirs."

However, Burke said the You Can Play Project is not just for pro players.

"To me, it's just as important that a young player playing lacrosse or a 60-year-old playing beer league someplace feel safe in their locker-room," he said. "We really want to work on the culture at its core because I believe in any sport, at any level, at any age, at any skill level, you should be able to
play sports free of fear." etc ...
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# 2 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 00:28
That's a great initiative!

I was never into any team sports of any sort, but over the last couple of weeks I became a fan of the Frankfurt Lowen, our local Ice Hockey team.

The matches are brilliant!! Seen them twice at the Eissporthalle and they won both times!
# 3 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 15:34
Its amazing to me that there are no openly gay athletes in the four major pro sports leagues. I guess this organisation might help pave the way but it will take a very brave guy to be the first to step up to the plate.

# 4 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 15:41
Ideally a bunch of them would come out together, that would work better. It's ridiculous that this is still such a big deal, at least in the Western world. Sports fans really need to grow up. It's not just homophobia, racism is also an issue.
# 5 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 16:12
Yeah a group of them coming out together would take the pressure off a bit.
# 6 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 17:44
The heteronormalcy is so ingrained in sports.
The whole WAGs culture. The special seating for WAGs and general VIP treatment.
Even in a sport such as golf which we don't think of as being particularly macho they show off the trophy wives and kids.
At the Par 3 before the opening of the Masters the place was awash with wives, girlfriends and children. And this in a golf club that didn't allow women members until last year.

It's time has come but finding general acceptance of gays in sports is going to be a slog.
# 7 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 17:56
Someone said :
Ideally a bunch of them would come out together, that oudl work better. It's ridiculous that this is still such a big deal, at least in the Western world. Sports fans really need to grow up. It's not just homophobia, racism is also an issue.

Apparently there are four NFL players who are considering this, it's a good idea.
# 8 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 22:38
Someone said :
Yeah a group of them coming out together would take the pressure off a bit.

A kind of heterospectacle
# 9 : Friday 12-4-2013 @ 23:21
Someone said :
Apparently there are four NFL players who are considering this, it's a good idea.

Cool. And I think their team mates should also be very vocal in their support of gay team mates. Then maybe ignorant mouths would shut the hell up and mind their own business!
# 10 : Monday 29-4-2013 @ 23:10
NBA's Jason Collins comes out: What does that mean for gay rights? (+video) Jason Collins became the first active player in America's four major professional team sports to come out as gay. Given sports' elevated place in society, Jason Collins might have just made a significant step for gay rights.

In a lengthy post co-written with Sports Illustrated reporter Frank Lidz, Collins writes that after years of hiding his sexuality, March’s Supreme Court oral hearings pushed him to come out of the closet.

“Less than three miles from my apartment, nine jurists argued about my happiness and my future. Here was my chance to be heard, and I couldn’t say a thing,” Collins wrote.

RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about gay rights in America? Take the quiz!

Collins, who played for the Washington Wizards this year, waited until the season was over so as to not be a distraction to the team. Then he contacted Sports Illustrated through his agents to make the disclosure, according to an accompanying article.

“I’m glad I’m coming out in 2013 rather than 2003. The climate has shifted; public opinion as shifted. And yet we still have so much farther to go,” Collins concluded.

He is now a free agent but has said he wants to keep playing.

Will Collins’s move affect US public policy? To a certain
extent, he is taking advantage of an existing trend toward more tolerance of gay rights in US public opinion. Earlier this month, an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found 53 percent of respondents approving of gay marriage, up 2 percentage points from December.

The more personal gay rights appear to Americans, the more support for it seems to go. That’s what happened with Sen. Rob Portman (R) of Ohio, who announced in March that he has switched and now supports gay marriage, in part because his son is gay.

Collins’ disclosure is likely to put wind in the sails of this trend, given the coverage it is likely to receive and the interest major league team sports generate in the US, indeed the world. He is a tough, veteran center who was an all-American at Stanford and a first-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets. He’s spent significant time playing for the New Jersey Nets and the Atlanta Hawks, with stops in Memphis, Minnesota, Boston, and now Washington along the way.

Of course, this trend is still partisan, and the Collins story may not change that. In the NBC poll, 73 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents approved of gay marriage, while 66 percent of Republicans opposed it.

Collins was a roommate of Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D) of Massachusetts in college. Kennedy has already issued a statement of support for Collins and invited him to march in the 2013 Gay Pride parade in Boston.

Ex-President Bill Clinton was also quick to weigh in, as Collins was also a classmate and friend of daughter Chelsea at Stanford.

“Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community,” said Clinton’s statement in part.

Clinton also said he hoped that the larger NBA community would accept Collins for who he is. Notably, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant tweeted on Monday that he was “proud” of Collins.

“Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others,” Bryant tweeted.

The effect of the Collins announcement would be more pronounced if other male pro athletes follow his example. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is straight but has expressed support for gay rights, has said that there are as many as four NFL players who he knows to be gay, and that they have been discussing coming out as a group. etc ...
# 11 : Monday 29-4-2013 @ 23:15
Very commendable move. He is a free agent so I wonder if this will affect his chances of finding a new team. Also interesting is that he's a veteran so he must be confident that attitudes have changed considerably during his time playing.
# 12 : Monday 29-4-2013 @ 23:42
Jason Collins' full statement is amazing.
Highly recommended. etc ...
# 13 : Monday 29-4-2013 @ 23:53
there's no homophobia in sport because there's no gay people in sport, because gay people are like girls and girls play don't sports.
# 14 : Tuesday 30-4-2013 @ 08:46
Someone said :
there's no homophobia in sport because there's no gay people in sport, because gay people are like girls and girls play don't sports.

Girls don't participate in male sports.
# 15 : Tuesday 30-4-2013 @ 14:07
(I was being sarcastic/facetious)
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