Athlete Ally Hub

James Blake Ends Tennis Career, Condemns Russian Homophobia: VIDEO


James Blake retired from tennis last night following his first-round defeat by Croatia's Ivo Karlovic at the U.S. Open. In his post-game press conference, Blake talked about being an African-American tennis star and inspiring young players but also talked about homophobia, the AP reports:

Afterward, he talked about tennis, but also causes dear to him. Blake has joined Athlete Ally, an organization working to end homophobia in sports. He lamented an athletic culture "where you're too often seeing a lot of macho sort of showboating when everyone should feel comfortable."

"Sports is a great equalizer," Blake said.

He condemned the law prohibiting gay "propaganda" in Russia, which is hosting the Winter Olympics next year.

"I think everyone at this point, when you look at numbers, someone in your circle, whether it's a family member or a friend, is gay, transgender, or bisexual," he said. "You should appreciate that those people are valued members of society, people that are doing something good in the world. They should feel comfortable to live their lives. I think any sort of policy that discriminates against them, that excludes them, is completely unfair in today's day and age. That's why I say we're 50 years out and there are still things going on that are discriminatory."

As long as we're looking back on Blake's career, let's have a look at this memory from 2006 courtesy of Evian water, when that career really broke out and he burst into the top 20 for the first time.

Check out one more shot, and a brief video of Blake's final moments on the court (if a clip of the post-game press conference described above becomes available, I'll post that too, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Athlete Ally's Hudson Taylor: 'We Have Opportunity to Show the World Gay Rights are Human Rights' - VIDEO


Athlete Ally's Hudson Taylor spoke with CNN yesterday about efforts to assure the safety of LGBT athletes and visitors to Sochi and shine a spotlight on Russia's anti-gay laws.


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NFL Players Association Selling 'LGBT Pride' T-Shirts


The NFL Players Association has launched a line of 'LGBT Pride' t-shirts to benefit (all proceeds) the anti-homophobia group Athlete Ally. Supporters have the option of adding the jersey number and name of Brendon Ayanbadejo, Connor Barwin, Scott Fujita, Steve Gleason, Chris Gocong, Chris Kluwe, Donte' Stallworth, Terrell Suggs or Eric Winston to the shirts, which sell for $24.99.

Said Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe: “I am extremely proud to be a part of this collaboration between Athlete Ally and the NFLPA’s One Team Shop to raise awareness both of Pride month and the issue of tolerance and respect within the NFL itself. As players, we are role models to a wide variety of people, and this is a great way to send a message of empathy to those who love and watch the game. Also, I'm pretty stoked that people can buy something with my number on it.”

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Joins Athlete Ally Advisory Board

Mark Cuban 2-01Dallas Mavericks owner, billionaire businessman, and philanthropist Mark Cuban has been added to the expanding list of high profile members on the Advisory Board of Athlete Ally, a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports and in general.

Cuban, who also owns the theatrical distribution company Magnolia Pictures and the art-house movie theatre chain Landmark Theatres, has signed on to advise the group on its various forms of programming, according to a press release. He joins the likes of Super Bowl champ Brendon Ayanbadejo, out pro-soccer player Robbie Rogers, and straight wrestler Hudson Taylor, who also founded the organization. Taylor had this to say:

“Mark Cuban is known for fearlessly speaking his mind on this issue, and his vision and role with Athlete Ally go even deeper than that.  As an advisory board member, Mark is helping to shape the course and impact of our organization. We’re grateful for Mark’s support and excited to learn from him.”

Cuban has already accurately predicted the coming-out of out pro-basketballer Jason Collins in a 2011 interview with TMZ. In the release, Cuban expressed his desire to help make sports an even more welcoming environment for LGBT athletes.

“It’s a new world. Everyone should know that they can be themselves in sports. Leagues like the NBA, their teams and players have a great opportunity to set an example and spread a message to people who are either LGBT or straight that our culture should be celebrated for diversity and individual authenticity.”

Kenneth Faried is First NBA Player to Join LGBT Rights Ally Group After Voicing Support for His Two Moms: VIDEO


Denver Nuggets star Kenneth Faried has joined the group Athlete Ally as an ambassador, making him the first player in the NBA to join an LGBT rights support organization. Athlete Ally combats homophobia in sports.

Faried appeared in a video in late January with his two moms for One Colorado, urging lawmakers to pass a civil union bill there.

The HuffPost reports:

"Becoming an Athlete Ally gives me the opportunity to spread a message of inclusiveness throughout the NBA and our country," said Faried in a statement to The Huffington Post, referring to the non-profit group that advocates for gay rights in sports. "I have two moms and I love them both very much. I respect, honor and support them in every way. The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the LGBT community -- whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans -- to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities."

As a member of Athlete Ally, Faried joins Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens, Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns, Connor Barwin of the Houston Texans, as well as professional international sports stars and college players.

Said Athlete Ally Executive Director Hudson Taylor: "In the last month, we have seen seven professional athletes around the world align with Athlete Ally. As Kenneth joins 4 NFL players, including a Super Bowl champ, a pro rugby player and an Australian Rules Football star, he is bringing our movement to a new level.  Kenneth is standing out not only as an incredible talent, but as an incredible ally. We are thrilled to have him on board and grateful to the NBA for its continued leadership."

Watch Faried's video for One Colorado, AFTER THE JUMP...

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