BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Kenneth Faried, of the Denver Nuggets basketball team, has become the first NBA player to join Athlete Ally, a group that fights homophobia in sports, The Huffington Post reports.
In a statement to the Post, Faried, who noted that he has two moms, said being a part of Athlete Ally gives him an "opportunity to spread a message of inclusiveness throughout the NBA and our country." He says the bond he has with his mothers "made me realize that I want all members of the LGBT community -- whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans -- to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities."
Faried joins football players like the Baltimore Ravens' Brendon Ayanbadejo, the Minnesota Vikings' Chris Kluwe, the Cleveland Browns' Scott Fujita and the Houston Texans' Connor Barwin, as well as other professional and college sports stars in the organization.
Athlete Ally teamed up with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) last year to work with the NBA to do LGBT-awareness training for rookies, a program that will continue this year, the Post notes.
This past weekend Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who was fined $10,000 for using an anti-gay slur during a game last April, took a fan to task for using a homophobic slur.
"Just letting you know@PacSmoove @pookeo9 that using "your gay" as a way to put someone down ain't ok! #notcool delete that out ur vocab."
After one of his followers reminded him of the on-court incident last year, Bryant acknowledged that his reaction then was not "cool."
"I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others," he tweeted.
In honour of his late son Brendan, former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and his son Patrick launched their own campaign to curb homophobia and welcome gay players to the NHL. The younger Burke says, “Straight athletes have been conditioned to think they should not support gay rights. We need to give them a means to support gay players. The vast majority of them do.”
He predicts the NHL will see its first openly gay player in the next two years. “We have hit the tipping point here. We are getting closer and closer to that moment.”