According to the New York Daily News:
“The National Football League has formally prohibited discrimination against players based on sexual orientation, according to the new contract inked between players and owners.
“Among the additions made to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement this summer was the phrase, ’sexual orientation,’ in the section listing what owners and the NFL Player’s Association are forbidden to consider in their treatment of a player.
“The collective bargaining agreement was approved by the players Aug. 4.
“‘There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA,’ the new agreement reads, according to The Huffington Post, drawing from an earlier article by the website Wide Rights.”
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Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo talks about his public support for marriage equality as a straight athlete on ESPN:
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Ben Cohen, England Rugby World Cup Winner and staunch straight supporter of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, is bringing his Acceptance Tour to the USA and to hold development meetings for the formation of an anti-bullying foundation. The foundation will leverage the support of a variety of other sports and entertainment stars, as well as U.S. corporations, to actively promote equality for and combat bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Ben filmed a special invitation (below) to all of our amazing Give a Damn Campaign supporters to join him as he stops in New York City, Atlanta, Seattle and Washington DC later this month. Check out his website to learn more >>
Here are some words from Ben on why he stands up against homophobia:
I am passionate about standing up against homophobia and feel compelled to take action. It is time we stand up for what is right and support young people who are being harmed. As athletes, it is not enough just to have strong bodies. We must have strong characters and use our voices to support those who need and deserve it.
Every person on this planet has a right to be true to themselves, to love and be loved, and to be happy. I encourage others to stand up with me and make a difference. Stand up for equality, stand up against bullying.
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- Learn more about Ben and his Acceptance Tour
According to the Toronto Sun:
“There have been a lot of adjectives to describe New York Rangers forward Sean Avery.
“Now there’s another.
“The controversial agitator has gotten himself into trouble with trash talk and was the target of a lewd gesture by then-New York Islanders defenceman James Wisniewski earlier this season.
“But he said if there’s a gay hockey player out there seeking support to come out, the player need only pick up the phone.
“Avery said he’s willing to support a player who might feel intimidated by the decision to openly declare his sexual orientation.
“‘If there’s a kid in Canada or wherever, who is playing and really loves the game and wants to keep playing but he’s worried about coming out, I’d tell him to pick up the phone and call (NHLPA executive director) Donald Fehr and tell him to book me a (plane) ticket.
“‘I’ll stand beside him in the dressing room while he tells his teammates he is gay. Maybe if Sean Avery is there, they would have less of a problem with it.’
“Avery, whose comments in the past have landed him in hot water (he was suspended in December 2008 for his “sloppy seconds” comment about former girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert and then-Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf), showed a kinder, gentler side on the subject of playing with a gay teammate.
“He said it would be no big deal after living in popular gay communities such as West Hollywood in California, when he played for the Los Angeles Kings, and now Chelsea in New York.
“Avery said there are ‘probably a few gay players in the NHL, but I don’t know if somebody has the courage (to come out).’”
Rugby player Gareth Thomas is the only openly gay male professional athlete on a team in the world, and yesterday he visited Ellen and shared what it’s been like — and the support he’s received from some surprising sources.
The following is an excerpt from a story by the Chicago Tribune:
“Professional sports stars haven’t played much of a role in the 40-year history of Chicago’s [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] Pride Parade.
“Sunday’s parade will be different, with the Chicago Cubs entering a float and a player from the NHL champion Blackhawks set to tote the Stanley Cup down North Halsted Street.
“‘This definitely breaks stereotypes,’ said Richard Pfeiffer, one of the organizers of the gay pride event.
“Previously, a baseball player, three football players and an umpire — all of them retired — have marched in the parade, Pfeiffer said.
“The Cubs’ participation was encouraged by new owner Tom Ricketts, who wanted the Cubs to be seen as ‘good neighbors,’ a team spokesman said.
“While players from this year’s lineup won’t be on the team’s float — they’ll be busy playing the White Sox — ‘Mr. Cub’ Ernie Banks will.
“Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel will be carrying the Stanley Cup in the parade to honor Brendan Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke. Brendan Burke came out as a gay man shortly before dying in a car accident in February.
“Brendan Burke was a student at Miami University in Ohio and worked with the school’s hockey team. After opening up about his sexuality to the team, he spoke publicly about his experience growing up as a gay hockey player.
“Sopel, who will march in the parade with his wife and children — and the Cup, of course — said he wants to promote tolerance.
“‘Everyone has feelings and everyone is a person,’ Sopel said. ‘That’s what we continue to promote to our kids. I hope [the gay community] gets equality and what they’re looking for.’”
The following is an excerpt from a story by Katie Thomas of The New York Times:
“The Oneonta men’s lacrosse team marched two by two onto the field, sticks held with purpose for the final home game of the season. Beneath their helmets, the players flashed hard looks and cheeks smeared with eye black.
“Tough and menacing is the team’s reputation around this State University of New York campus in the foothills of the Catskills. Even Dan Mahar, the head coach, acknowledges his players are viewed as a bit ‘rough around the edges.’
“But this season, the team is developing a new reputation — as models of tolerance — after one of its captains announced in an online essay in February that he was gay. The senior, Andrew McIntosh, said he had not heard a single disparaging comment from his teammates.
“’I was embraced with open arms,’ he said. ‘I had teammates come up and give me handshakes, and people saying it takes a lot of guts to do that.’
“Sports have long been viewed as inhospitable to gay men. The number of American male professional team athletes who have come out can be counted on two hands. In locker rooms, antigay slurs are tossed around as casually as borrowed towels. Yet for those who follow the increasingly common stories of athletes who decide to come out while in college, McIntosh’s story is not an anomaly, but the norm.
“’For some reason, people continue to think that gay people in sports will have a rough time, but we haven’t seen in 10 years anyone kicked off their team,’ said Cyd Zeigler, the co-founder of Outsports.com, referring to male athletes. The site published the essay by McIntosh and has served as a public home for gay athletes to tell their coming-out stories. Since the Web site began in 2000, Zeigler estimates that more than two dozen college and high school athletes have used the site to reveal that they are gay.”
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