The You Can Play Project is launching an initiative with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) and MLS’ Colorado Rapids are among the pro teams who have signed on to participate.
You Can Play, Colorado! is a program to encourage inclusion in high school athletics and other extracurricular activities, especially among LGBT youth. Many Colorado sports teams will be represented in the program including the Rapids, NHL’s Avalanche, and NBA’s Nuggets. The Avalanche will be the first with a video out in support of the program early next month. Students from across the state will also be able to create videos supporting diversity for the project as part of a contest.
You Can Play executive director Wade Davis graduated from high school in Colorado, and had this to say in their release about the new program:
Ending discrimination of any kind in sports has always been the mission of You Can Play. In working with CHSAA, it became clear that You Can Play’s original mission of changing the culture of locker rooms extends to anywhere students rely on teammates, whether that’s a locker room, on a debate or chess team, or in school bands or plays.
Hopefully You Can Play, Colorado! will serve as a great example for what professional teams and organizations across the country can do together to work towards inclusion at all levels of sports.
Oregon United for Marriage along with other groups are currently in the process of collecting the voter signatures needed to put marriage equality on the November 2014 ballot.
The Timbers and Thorns organization announced the endorsement with a statement from owner Merritt Paulson: “We are proud to support Oregon United for Marriage and its efforts to secure the freedom to marry for all Oregonians next November.” They also released the following video on the Oregon United for Marriage YouTube page:
The Chicago Fire currently work with Equality Illinois, who are working through the legislature for marriage equality. Adidas America joined with Oregon United for Marriage this week as well.
You can sign onto a message thanking the Timbers, Thorns, and NBA’s Trailblazers on the Oregon United for Marriage website.
The US Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Friday that its board voted to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.
The USOC was under a great deal of pressure from both athletes and lawmakers to protect gay and lesbian athletes ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where laws are in place that punish what is viewed as pro-gay propaganda. The amended bylaw reads:
The USOC is committed to honesty and integrity as the cornerstone of our activities. In turn, the USOC expects you to conduct yourself in an ethical and legal manner as a representative of the USOC. This requires you to:
* Respect the rights of all individuals to fair treatment and equal opportunity, free from discrimination or harassment of any type, including, without limitation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or otherwise.
While openly stating opposition to the law, the USOC states that they will not advocate for its changing. They are inquiring with the International Olympic Committee about how IOC rules against political speech affect athletes who have already been vocal about the laws in place in Russia. The IOC does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in its non-discrimination policies.
Gay and lesbian soccer players from Robbie Rogers to Tasha Kai and from Megan Rapinoe to Abby Wambach have represented the United States at the past few Olympic games.
Abby Wambach and Sarah Huffman got married in a ceremony in Hawaii this past weekend, multiple sources such as TMZ are now reporting.
Ok, for many of this isn’t news. We’ve known this was happening for awhile now. Heck, I did a Google search back in July when Huffman publicly came out while signing on with Athlete Ally that resulted in their online wedding registry.
(My personal favorite item? The bottle opener in the shape of a bulldog’s head.)
We were waiting until one of them said something about the wedding until we did. We wanted to respect what they clearly wanted to be a private affair. But news of the ceremony has been coming out (as it were) for days now, and we can’t help but share in their joy and wish them the best.
Now media outlets across the globe are picking up the story from TMZ and spreading the news of what is likely the soccer wedding of the year (sorry Jay and Ashleigh).
So congratulations to Abby and Sarah. May your married life together be happy and blessed.
Update: On behalf of Sarah and herself, Abby thanked fans Wednesday afternoon:
Sarah and I wanted to thank everyone for all the love and support. We couldn't be happier. What an amazing week it's been. #honeymoon
— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) October 9, 2013
Local musicians featured heavily in the evening, both performing at a special pregame concert and singing the national anthems for the crowd at Toyota Park and watching on the MLS Stream of the Week.
Singer and actress Jess Godwin was tapped with singing “O Canada.” Her latest music video addresses bullying and using the arts as an outlet for social issues.
Isaiah Grass, named to a list of the “Best of Gay Chicago” in 2011, took on the “Star Spangled Banner”
Kudos to the Chicago Fire for putting on another great Pride Night, with proceeds benefitting Equality Illinois’ fight for marriage equality!
The Fire trounced DC United 3-0 on the road this past weekend.
The soccer programs from each school is represented in the two videos, along with a myriad of other sports programs.
Brown and Dartmouth are two of our nation’s oldest institutions of higher learning, and it’s great to see their student athletes taking a stand on and off the field as they lead the way in the Ivy League.
Here’s the video from Dartmouth released early in September:
And here’s Brown’s video that came out just last week:
Here’s to many more great You Can Play videos from collegiate and pro teams in the coming year!
For the fourth consecutive year, DC United is holding its annual “United Night Out” this Saturday night for their match against the LA Galaxy.
Working with the Federal Triangles Soccer Club, a portion of the Night Out ticket sales will go to support the work of the You Can Play Project. Beyond the match itself, the night will feature a tailgate, the DC Gay Men’s Chorus performing the National Anthem, and the ceremonial coin toss being done by the publisher of the city’s gay newspaper The Blade.
DC along with Chivas USA were the first MLS clubs to hold LGBT Pride Nights back in 2010, and DC has had other firsts reaching out to the community, including being the first MLS team to make a video for You Can Play. They’ve participated in DC Pride for the last five years with the Federal Triangles, and last year won the Team DC Community Partner of the Year Award for all of the work they have done.
DC United was one of many area sports teams featured in the Blade’s recent sports issue, with Chris Pontius saying that if there was an out player “we would accept a person for who they are. As a player you accept them as they are as a player.”
You can get tickets for United Night Out at unitednightout.com.
The Fire is partnering this year with both Equality Illinois and the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association, the largest non profit gay and lesbian athletics organization in the Midwest. Together they’re putting together quite a night. Beyond a discounted rate, tickets also get admission to a pregame tailgate and concert featuring Chicago recording artists Isaiah Grass and Jess Godwin. Grass has been recognized by Best Gay Chicago and Godwin’s lyrics tackle issues such as bullying so it’s great that they’re part of the night. And if you’re worried about getting out to Bridgeview, twelve dollars more gets you transportation to and from Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood.
Best of all, the Chicago Fire is once again donating a portion of each ticket’s cost to Equality Illinois, explicitly stating that the team is behind the fight for marriage equality. Wow.
As a former Olympian himself, Robbie Rogers has gotten a lot of questions about calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi after Russian crackdowns on the LGBT community. To answer everyone at once, he has penned a column for USA Today about the issue.
…I couldn’t imagine supporting a boycott of the Sochi Olympics that would deny any fellow athletes the opportunity to do what I did then: to compete against the world’s best, to fulfill the dream of a lifetime, to set an example for the world, to make our friends, families, and country proud of our accomplishments. I also couldn’t imagine telling an athlete not to boycott if that’s what he or she thinks is best.
Beyond his statements about Sochi, Rogers talks about the Galaxy’s recent trip to Miami for the International Champions Cup tournament. At one of their meals as a team, the subject of his sexuality came up: what it’s like to date guys and what it’s like to go to a gay bar. He compares that moment to what it will be like for out athletes and allies to go to Russia and have an opportunity to expose folks there to some exceptional members of the world LGBT community and have conversations.
You can read Robbie Rogers’ complete column at the USA Today website.
It was an interesting night at RFK stadium for a seemingly meaningless friendly between two clubs from different nations, competing for no pre-season trophy, in a nation not traditionally known for its football passions. However, 25,000 people showed up to see Michael Bradley’s AS Roma take on Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side for what would turn out to be a fairly entertaining match.
As to be expected, all eyes were on the only American on the pitch,Michael Bradley, with fans eager to see how he’d match up against Chelsea’s world-class midfield including players such as John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle, Kevin De Bruyne, and Michael Essien. You could tell Bradley was perhaps a bit over-excited, over-doing things on the dribble on multiple occasions. His eagerness to dribble out of danger was a bit comical several times, as he was in fact in space, and only looked silly and out of his depth. However, as a whole, he didn’t put in a terrible performance. His passing was effectual, and he put in a few great tackles to help his side defensively.
Chelsea were the real entertainers on the evening, with several players creating chances in on goal. Fernando Torres was quite lively while on the pitch, almost going in on goal with a clever series of back-heel juggles over the defense. Chelsea’s knew signing, veteran keeper Mark Schwartzer let in an absolute howler of a goal in the first half, as he mis-trapped a pass which then hit the post, only to be finished by Erik Lamela.
A second-half wonder-strike by Frank Lampard and a tap-in by Romelu Lukaku ensured victory for the English side, who were in truth the better performers on the night. After the match, Bradley spoke of the importance of playing in these type of friendlies against quality opponents to prepare for the start of the Serie A campaign. Bradley also mentioned the upcoming international friendlies as a chance for players to get in some last minute match fitness before rejoining their club squads. When I asked Bradley about whether or not he’d be traveling to Bosnia he replied “the players who will be traveling for the friendly should be notified by tomorrow whether or not they’ll be meeting up with the team.”
Having since been named to the squad for the Bosnia match, hopefully Bradley can add some much-needed leadership and experience to a relatively inexperienced USA squad.