Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, with the one week countdown until he plays in Super Bowl XLVII ticking away has many things to do; he chose to take time to send this email as one of them:
“Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti-bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?”
His support for diversity began in 2009 and since then has been joined by a who-who’s of sports heroes such as Chris Kluwe, Antonio Cromartie, Michael Irvin, Donte Stallworth, Michael Strahan and Scott Fujita to name a few.
49ers cornerback Chris Culliver’s apology for his recent anti-gay remarks has received a suspicious reception but the San Francisco 49ers, who will share the gridiron with the Raven’s next Sunday, actually became the first NFL team to join the “It Get’s Better Campaign” in July of 2012, sort of.
Defensive tackles Ricky Jean Francois and Donte Whitner took the time to speak up, and speak out and remained steadfast in their support even after original participants nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and linebacker Ahmad Brooks later tried to distant themselves from their original participation. The re-cut video, shown here today, includes a clear, powerful statement: “The San Francisco 49ers are proud to join ItGetsBetter.org, to let all LGBT teens know that It Gets Better.” Bravo to Francois and Whitner who put doing what they felt is right about what some of their fans think is macho and cool.
The NOH8 Campaign, is silent photo-protest created by acclaimed photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in response to Proposition 8 in California. When former NBA star Isiah Thomas showed up for his photo shoot, he brought his son Zeke who appears in the final image with him.
And that is what this is really about…helping not just the victims; but the bullies themselves, and those whose silence allow it happen and to those who stand in the way of marriage equality today. Part of the reason it will, and in many ways, has gotten better is because of the fine men and women athletes who use their celebrity to get out the message “being who you are was always OK to begin with.”
Join the NFL & Stop the Hate
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