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View Count: 66 |  Publish Date: April 11, 2013
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NHL partners with LGBT rights group You Can Play
Justin Klugh, Philly.com SportsPosted: Thursday, April 11, 2013, 1:45 PM
For the first time, one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States has pledged its support for LGBT rights. The National Hockey League and its players have partnered with the advocacy group You Can Play to combat homophobia in professional sports.
We are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands, commisionner Gary Bettman said.
Formed in March 2012, You Can Play works to cultivate the open discussion and encouragement of homosexual athletes to stop shielding their true selves and for teams at every level to make known their acceptance of all teammates, regardless of sexual orientation.
One of the founders of You Can Play is Patrick Burke, a Flyers scout. He acknowledged that offering support for an openly gay player was not an initial intention for the group, but they are thrilled and willing to be a part of it with the NHL.
If [a gay player] wants to do a thousand interviews and march in pride parades, we’re equipped to handle that, Burke said in the New York Times. And if he wants us to pass block for him so he never has to do another interview in his life, we’re equipped to handle that too.”
The NHLPA also greeted the news warmly. Players union chief Donald Fehr said that bottom line, it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what we’re all supposed to do in this world.
With the full support of commissioner Gary Bettman, You Can Play and the NHL have forged a refreshing collaboration. Efforts will include rookie seminars, a supply of assets and counseling upon request, and private meetings with players, as confidential or open as the player requests. Should bigotry surface, it will be dealt with quickly and harshly. Justin KlughPhilly.com Sports 0commentsTweetemail

Time: 19:23  |  News Code: 252947  |  Site: philly.com
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