Since its inception, the You Can Play project has teamed up with some of the biggest names in the NHL to combat the culture of homophobia in sports and the locker room. To date, they’ve collaborated with such people as Carey Price, Sidney Crosby and even NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Recently, Gabriel Landeskog, captain of the Colorado Avalanche, teamed up with You Can Play and in doing so helped set a major precedent: the NHL is now the first major sports league to have a player from every team openly support LGBT rights.
In a posting to You Can Play’s blog, the organization lauded the NHL for stepping forward, saying that in “one of the most rough and tumble games in sports, dozens of players — high schoolers and pick-up artists, all-stars and Olympians — have spoken up: discrimination isn’t right."
They also took a moment to thank each and every player who has pledged their support for equal rights, as well as all those fans and kids looking to play, saying “[F]or every kid on a frozen pond or hockey mom in an early-morning rink to every small-town girl watching in a sometimes-rodeo arena to every suit-and-tie suiteholder, you have company in cheering heart, talent and skill and not caring who those players love."
Considering that the world of sports is still one of the last respites for casual bigotry — see: The NFL — we definitely need pro athletes to come out against discrimination of any kind. Seriously, shit is going from bad to worse in the world of sports, and we need at least one sport where they’re not racist/homophobic/misogynistic.