Past and present New York Giants greats came together recently to throw their weight behind the You Can Play project, a non-profit working with athletes and organizations to promote what can be thought of as equal-opportunity football -- a version of the sport in which one’s skills on the field, not his or her sexual orientation, is prioritized.
“All any of us want is an opportunity to be judged on our ability,” Giants special teams captain Zak DeOssie said. “Everybody, regardless of background or sexual orientation, deserves that chance.”
While New York joins a growing chorus of voices from around the professional sports world embracing LGBTQ inclusivity, it is the first NFL franchise to endorse the You Can Play project and its mission statement of “eras[ing] homophobia from locker rooms and sports venues,” per OutSports.com.
“If you can catch, you can catch,” the video goes. “If you can tackle, you can tackle. If you can kick, you can kick. The New York Giants believe that all athletes should be … judged only by their talent, character and work ethic.”
The PSA comes just two months after openly gay defensive end Michael Sam told sportscaster Dan Patrick that he believes he would be sitting on an NFL roster right now if he hadn’t come out in February 2014. Sam, who made history by being selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft, was dropped from the team before the next season began -- and before further history could be made.
Kudos to the Giants for taking up this cause and talking up this message. Maybe this will encourage other NFL squads to finally step into the light and embrace equality for all.
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