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Canadian Sports Network Takes Engaging Look At Homophobia In Sports: VIDEO

Robbie

Canadian Sports Network TSN recently did a three part series on homophobia in sports titled “ReOrientation: The Culture of Casual Homophobia.” Former NHL player turned broadcaster Aaron Ward runs the series and interviews openly gay athletes like Robbie Rogers and former NFL player Esera Tuaolo along with allies such as Chris Kluwe and NHL players Dustin Brown and Ben Scrivens. Ward also spoke to Patrick Burke, founder of the You Can Play Project, who coined the term, “casual homophobia.” Said Scrivens of the way in which homophobic slurs are jocularly passed around the locker room,

“I don't see that it just comes out, that people have no control over what they're saying. But at the same time you get into a group where you've acted the same way around this group for, you know, your entire adult life essentially and you know it's not just, you’re not going cold turkey on this stuff as much as we’d like it to you—things are getting better I mean—”

“It’s going to take time,” Brown interjects.

“It’s going to take time,” Scrivens agrees.

Ward points out the difficulty he had in getting hockey players to speak candidly about this issue: 

“We struggled to get participation from players. Over a nine month period we reached out to 12 different National Hockey League teams. Could not get cooperation. It was a struggle to get guys to sit down be comfortable and honest in front of the camera. Now what you see is obviously easy to sit down and read words for a PSA. It's an absolute other thing to sit down to be honest and in-depth and clear about how you feel about this process and this issue in its own right so it’s almost a barometer of where we are today.”

Watch all three episodes of the series AFTER THE JUMP…

Locker

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News: Stephen Amell, Obamacare, Denzel Washington, El Salvador


Amell
RoadStephen Amell covers up the goods for an impromptu Christmas card posted to the actor's Instagram.

RoadKanye's keyboard will appreciate the break.

RoadShe's just being Miley.

RoadCybill Shepherd to guest star on Trophy Wife.

RoadDecember saw a surge in sign-ups on healthcare.gov, passing the 1 million mark, according to the Obama administration: "Combined with numbers for state-run markets due in January, that should put total enrollment in the new private insurance plans under President Barack Obama's health law at about 2 million people through the end of the year, independent experts said. That would be about two-thirds of the administration's original goal of signing up 3.3 million by Dec. 31, a significant improvement given the technical problems that crippled the federal market during much of the fall. The overall goal remains to enroll 7 million people by March 31."

RoadDenzel Washington rumored to be playing the Green Lantern in the new Superman vs. Batman movie.

RoadMichael Fassbender mugs for British GQ.

RoadThe year in scandals.

RoadProstitute mistakenly texts on duty police officer in wrong number epic fail. 

RoadGOP megadonor Harold Simmons has died: "Simmons’s spending was not confined to Republican political candidates: His foundation gave $600,000 to Planned Parenthood and a Texas affiliate in 2011, according to CPI, and the same amount to a Dallas LGBT center this year, according to the Dallas Morning News."

Pin RoadA very apropos 'You Can Play' pin.

RoadThe (fan-created) Frozen reprise that might have been but never was.

RoadSpeaking of, the animated film has done equally well overseas and here in the US according to Deadline, raking in $243.5M abroad and $491.8M globally.

RoadChaparrastique volcano erupts in El Salvador, thousands flee.

RoadNY Times asks: What does the way you speak say about you?


NFL Players Reach Out to LGBT Youth in 'High Five Initiative'

The 'You Can Play Project' has announced the 'High Five Initiative', a collaboration that will see, in its first project, NFL players interacting one-one-one with LGBT youth, the group announced:

VincentThe initiative will have a soft launch with former NFL players and NFL player engagement executives Troy Vincent (pictured) and Dwight Hollier visiting New York City's Hetrick Martin Institute (HMI), one of the nation's oldest and largest LGBT organizations. The HMI provides lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) youth social support and programming ranging from arts and culture to academic enrichment to job readiness.

After today, both organizations will continue to work together to expand the initiative during the 2014 NFL season and have current and former players visit other organizations nationwide.

The project is the first initiative from the group's executive director, former NFL player Wade Davis.

Said Davis: “We believe that the power of story telling is a transformative experience that helps to broaden and foster our understanding of one another. We hope through these one-on-one interactions youth will see they are welcomed in sports."

Added the group:

The name “High Five” for the initiative is important as well, because Glenn Burke, former MLB player and gay male, is credited with inventing the “High Five” and further cementing the connection between LGBT individuals and sports.

“Our goal at You Can Play beyond creating safe spaces for LGBT individuals, is to change the singular narrative that exist about sports. If youth only hear that sports is about toughness, masculinity and violence, some may choose not to play. But when youth learn the true essence of sports is family, solidarity and compassion for all participants, then we will see more youth, especially LGBT youth, understand sports is a place for them,” said Davis.


Should Straight Allies Back Away from the Spotlight in the LGBT Sports Movement?

Chris Kluwe

In the year and a half since its launch, the You Can Play Project has been working hard at supporting LGBT rights and fighting homophobia in sports by featuring a growing list of vocal athlete allies from across the sporting world. In a new article over at Outsports, however, founder Patrick Burke expressed his discomfort with the reality that the LGBT sports movement isn't actually an LGBT sports movement.

Said Burke:

Patrick BurkeI can't shake the feeling that we've gone too far. Allies have raised our profiles beyond what is necessary to help the LGBT community. It's been a big year for allies to get famous, grab a book deal, win awards, maybe pocket some speaker's fees for appearances. Resources that should be going to empower LGBT voices are instead going to enhance the visibility of straight people. We've created professional allies (or, as the history major in me would call them, mercenaries). We've created famous allies. Think of how absurd that concept is. I have a public presence because I treat gay people with respect.

Part of it is the fault of the allies. Part of it has been the unwillingness of the LGBT athletic community to stand up publicly and say, "Thank you for everything, but we'be got this now." A major part of it is that the leagues, media, and major financial donors are still more comfortable working with straight white men. This is often true even when dealing with members of the LGBT community, who donate to or otherwise empower straight voices over LGBT athletes.

Burke says that while the contributions from straight allies have been (and continue to be) invaluable, he would like to see more LGBT people become the "faces" of the movement. He points to last month's naming of Wade Davis Executive Director of You Can Play as progress in the push to better connect with LGBT athletes and athletes of color.

Check out Burke's thought-provoking article in full over at Outsports.  


NHL Star Sidney Crosby: 'I Don't Agree' with Russia's Anti-Gay Laws - VIDEO

Crosby

The NHL's top player Sidney Crosby was asked about his views on Russia's anti-gay laws at a press conference for Team Canada on Sunday.

"It's not something we've discussed a whole lot though, but, for me growing up in Canada, my view has always been that way. I think that everyone has an equal right to play and I think we've been supportive of that. With the Olympics and the controversy around that I think those decisions or those laws aren't necessarily something that we might agree with, I don't agree with personally ... their laws and their views, everyone's entitled to those."

Crosby's Team Canada teammate, Nashville Predators star Shea Weber (also a supporter of the You Can Play foundation) said he too disagrees, but echoed Crosby's intent to play in Russia and focus on the game:

"Obviously, the NHLPA and myself are trying to support that cause. Like Sidney said, the way we're brought up is different than how the Russians view it. We're going over there to play hockey and obviously that's what we're going to try and focus on this year throughout our season."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

High-profile Olympic athletes had better start getting their answers prepared because they are all going to be asked about this before the Games begin.

Webber

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Gay Former NFL Player Wade Davis Named Executive Director of 'You Can Play' Project

Gay former NFL player Wade Davis has been named Executive Director of the 'You Can Play Project', a group working to support LGBT rights and fight homophobia in sports, the organization announced today:

DavisDavis is a former NFL player who is one of a small number of openly gay men to have played professional sports. Davis played college football at Weber State before spending four years with NFL practice squads and in NFL Europe. In addition to his collegiate and professional sports background, Davis has spent the last two and a half years working with inner-city LGBTQ youth at the prestigious Hetrik-Martin Institute in New York City. This year, Davis co-founded the You Belong Initiative, which partnered with the NBA, You Can Play, and other LGBT Sports groups to provide the world’s first LGBTQ sports camp to inner city youth. A member of this year’s HBO “Out List”, Davis has written for the New York Times, Huffington Post, Outsports.com, and other major media outlets. Davis appears on the boards of the GLSEN Sports Project and Go! Athletes.

Said You Can Play co-founders Patrick Burke, Brian Kitts, and Glenn Witman in a joint statement: “Wade is an absolute home run addition for You Can Play. With a background in both professional sports and in working directly with LGBT youth, he has what can only be described as utterly unique expertise. He has worked with numerous non-profits before, and as the founder of the You Belong Initiative he has experience in fundraising, development, and administration. He brings the ability to connect with pro athletes, with kids, and with media. He is an athlete, an academic, a teacher, a coach, a businessman, and a leader.”

Added Davis: “I am honored to have the opportunity to join such a ground-breaking organization in You Can Play. In a short period of time, their work has made significant strides in changing the culture of the sports world. I am hopeful that my background as an athlete and an LGBT youth advocate will allow me to take You Can Play to the next level.”

Davis began talking about his sexuality publicly in June 2012.


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