Earlier this week, the You Can Play Project launched with a PSA video that preaches acceptance for LGBT hockey players. You Can Play was co-founded by Patrick Burke, the brother of the late Brendan Burke and an activist for gay rights in sport. The organization, whose board includes Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke (father of Brendan and Patrick and gay rights advocate), has the following mission statement:
You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.
You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success.
You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.
This project appears to have a lot of promise in challenging the homophobic locker room culture that typifies hockey. The involvement of high-profile NHLers such as Rich Nash, Duncan Keith, Claude Giroux, Daniel Alfredsson, and Dion Phaneuf should help legitimize the campaign within hockey cultures. More promising is that the organization, though currently focused on men’s hockey, is reaching out to female athletes and athletes in other sports in hopes of spreading the movement.
After the jump, check out the PSA video and some reactions from media and bloggers.
Here is You Can Play’s first PSA video:
Reactions from blogs and media:
Greg Wyshynski examines the background to this campaign, including the involvement of NHL stars. [Puck Daddy]
Justin Bourne talks to Patrick Burke about You Can Play (and provides the lead image for this post!). [Backhand Shelf]
Bruce Arthur has a good article about the project, including the thoughts of Patrick and Brian Burke. [National Post]
Paul Friesen reports on the campaign, including some interesting insight from Tanner Glass of the Winnipeg Jets. [Winnipeg Sun]