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NHL commish Gary Bettman supports 'You Can Play'

Bettman offers his verbal support for the group aiming to end homophobia in the NHL, though he avoids using the word "gay"

Dave Kaufman, radio host at TSN990 in Montreal, caught up with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He was able to fire off two questions about the You Can Play project, which aims to show the support of NHL players for gay athletes.

I think it's the right thing to do. I'm fully supportive of it. And I'm very proud of Patrick and Brian Burke for everything they've done in that regard.

I'm so glad to see the commissioner acknowledge the work of the Burkes and the progress being made for equality in sports! But, "In that regard?" Hmmmmm. Why not say "for gay athletes?" I wonder if these commissioners are afraid of the word "gay," because they never use it. Oh steps, baby steps.

Kaufman also asked Bettman when a gay NHL player would come out of the closet:

I'm not in the prognostication business. I have no idea. But I do think that in terms of everything this campaign represents, in terms of tolerance and no bullying, as long as it's constructive in making it a better environment for anybody who wants to participate in sport, we're making progress.

That he got spot-on. I appreciate him not taking guesses on when an athlete will come out...since it's nothing more than a guess. And acknowledging that this is progress and that tolerance is's good. Baby steps, baby steps.

PHOTO: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman makes an announcement that the 2012 NHL draft will be held in Pittsburgh on June 22 and 23, 2012 at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE