Ten additional NHL athletes have joined
a video campaign in support of gay athletes.
In the second installment of the You
Can Play project, James Van Riemsdyk (PHI), Mark Fayne
(NJD), Frans Nielsen (NYI), Tyler Bozak (TOR), George Parros (ANA),
Brandon Prust (NYR), David Steckel (TOR), Andy Greene (NJD), RJ
Umberger (CBJ) and Brian Boyle (NYR) say sexual orientation is
irrelevant in hockey.
“If you can play, you can play,”
the athletes say in the 30-second ad. (The video is embedded in the
right panel of this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
The project's first video, which
featured Rick Nash (TOR), Claude Giroux (PHI), Dion Phaneuf (TOR) and
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), among others, first aired earlier this month
during an NBC Sports broadcast of a game between the New York Rangers
and Boston Bruins.
“The goals for You Can Play are
clear,” Patrick Burke, a co-founder and a scout for the
Philadelphia Flyers, said in a statement. “We want to make locker
rooms safe for all athletes, rather than places of fear, slurs and
bullying. The casual homophobia in sports has to change, so all
athletes know that what counts is whether you can play the game.”
Patrick Burke is the brother of Brendan
Burke, who came out gay while manager of the Miami University ice
hockey team. In 2010, he was killed in a car accident.
Burke told The
Washington Post that “we've never had an openly gay active
male player in any of the four big professional leagues.”
“As accepting as our [NHL] players
are and our management is, we need the gay athletes who are currently
in the NHL – because I believe there are some – to know just how
accepting our league is. It's scary when you think you're alone,
when you think you're the only one. Everyone thinks about the
worst-case scenario: I'm gonna come out, and my teammates are gonna
turn on me, and I'll get cut. We need to show them that that's not
Brendan Burke's father, Toronto Maple
Leafs general manager Brian Burke, appears seated next to Patrick
Burke in the videos.