ensure “equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation”

Advocate: “…Players James Van Riemsdyk, Mark Fayne, Frans Nielsen, Tyler Bozak, George Parros, Brandon Prust, David Steckel, Andy Greene, RJ Umberger, and Brian Boyle make appearances in the project’s recently released video, according to Towleroad.com. “My brother Brendan fought for tolerance, equality, and gay rights in sports,” Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, says in the PSA. Brendan was a student manager for his college hockey team and came out as gay shortly before his death in a car accident. Brendan and Patrick’s father, Brian Burke, is president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs…” – Josh Hinkle (READ MORE)

Ottawa Citizen “…In an online video posted Monday on the organization’s website, youcanplayproject.org, the 19-year-old University of Ottawa student predicts the organization’s new campaign will save the lives of gay teens dealing with their sexual orientation, especially in the macho world of sport. While playing hockey, football, basketball and softball, Heggart says, he was witness to constant gay slurs from teammates who didn’t know he was gay. This not only kept him in the closet, but made him loathe himself — or at least his sexual orientation. “When I was 13 and thinking about killing myself, this campaign would have made a world of difference,” he says in the video. “I love hockey … For me to have been able to watch as my heroes looked into a camera and said that it’s OK, it’s fine, and that they would treat me the way they would treat anyone else … I don’t know if I would have ever thought about suicide. I would have had a much easier time accepting myself,” he says. He adds, “This campaign is going to be a big reason why lives are changed, and why lives are saved…” – Shelley Page (READ MORE)

Huffington Post: “…Brendan Burke was killed in a February 2010 car crash at age 21, leaving the family to carry on his legacy. Brian Burke has been active in gay rights initiatives around Toronto and marches annually in the city’s gay pride parade, while Patrick founded the “You Can Play” project along with Brian Kitts and Glenn Witman, who run a Denver-based gay hockey team called GForce. In its mission statement, the “You Can Play” project says it aims to ensure “equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.” That ideal comes directly from conversations Patrick Burke had with his late brother. “When Brendan came out it didn’t change anything between me and him,” said Patrick. “It turned into a great moment for us, a great bonding moment for our family because when something like that happens when you’re not expecting it, you have to evaluate: ‘What do I look for in a brother? What do I look for in a friend?’ “We had a very open relationship where I asked him a lot of questions because I didn’t know anything. … And hearing some of the stories that young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) athletes face really touched me and made we want to do something in Brendan’s honour to help those kids…” – The Canadian Press (READ MORE)

You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit. – Official Web-site (READ MORE)

Brendan Gilmore Burke (December 8, 1988 – February 5, 2010) was an athlete and student manager at Miami University for the RedHawks men’s ice hockey team. The younger son of Brian Burke, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and of the US Olympic hockey team, in November 2009, he made international headlines for coming out, advocating for tolerance and speaking out against homophobia in professional sports. Burke’s coming out was widely praised and supported by sports news outlets and fans, generating multiple discussions about homophobia in sports, and in hockey in particular. He was viewed as a pioneer in advocacy against homophobia in hockey, described as “the closest person to the NHL ever to come out publicly and say that he is gay.” Burke was killed in a car crash on February 5, 2010. Following his death, Burke’s memory and contribution to LGBT awareness in hockey was honored by several hockey teams. The “Brendan Burke Internship” was later established in his honor by USA Hockey for his work in hockey management and a documentary entitled The Legacy of Brendan Burke aired on CBC Television in November 2010. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Related Reading:
Official Web-site: You Can Play Project
youtube: You Can Play Project’s channel
You Can Play gets Stamkos’ support
Leafs’ Burke in campaign to end homophobia in sports
David Pollak: Tommy Wingels, Brendan Burke, the You Can Play Project and me
Patrick Burke gets support for “You Can Play” project (Video)
The You Can Play Project gets support from NHL players (Video)

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