Count Jim Harbaugh, Coach of the Super Bowl bound San Francisco 49ers among those in professional sports who would welcome a gay player on his team.
Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle’s IPad 49ers magazine Harbaugh stated “I ask all players to play through their own personality and be who they are. What you ask of a player is to be a great teammate and be a good player. My expectations would be the same. Personally, there’s no discrimination in my heart.”
Harbaugh went on to say that he would treat the player the same as any other player.
Most players on the 49ers echoed the sentiments of their coach.
“At the end of the day, we are all family in this locker room, and we accept each player for whoever they are,” said linebacker Larry Grant. “Whatever makes you happy, do it,” cornerback Tarell Brown said. “I just feel like, you shouldn’t hide it. At the end of the day don’t be embarrassed with what you are, or what you do. If you are that way, that’s you.”
The 49ers are the only NFL team to have produced a video for the It Gets Better Project. In the video several members of the team deliver the following message:
There’s nothing easy about being young. About being yourself. About being an individual. Every day brings different changes and challenges that define who you are. But something you should never experiences is being bullied, intimidated or being pressured into being someone or something you are not. The San Francisco 49ers are proud to join It Gets Better.org to let all LGBT teens know that It Gets Better. Believe in yourself, set goals for yourself. Look to the future and it will get better.
You can see the video HERE
Not to be outdone, the Baltimore Ravens also have a representative playing in the game that is speaking about lgbt related issues. Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo, an ardent supported of marriage equality, is looking to use his platform in front of the massive press corps covering the game to advance the cause. Ayanbadejo recently emailed several marriage equality supports asking, “Is there anything I can do for marriage equality or anti-bullying over the next couple of weeks to harness this Super Bowl media?”
“It’s one of those times when you’re really passionate and in your zone. And I got to thinking about all kinds of things, and I thought: how can we get our message out there,” Ayanbadejo recently told the New York Times. “I was raised around gay people in a very liberal society. Discrimination was never allowed" he continued.
In 2009, Ayanbadejo,in a blog post for Huffington Post, wrote, "If Britney Spears can party it up in Vegas with one of her boys and go get married on a whim and annul her marriage the next day, why can't a loving same sex couple tie the knot? The divorce rate in America is currently 50 percent. I am willing to bet that same sex marriages have a higher success rate than heterosexual marriages."
And finally, readers of sports illustrated will get a little surprise when they open the current issue. The magazine will feature a photo (below) taken at Hi Tops, a gay sports bar in San Francisco, showing two men kissing to celebrate the 49ers win that sent the team to the Super Bowl.
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