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Stanford takes stand for LGBT athletes, says 'You can play'

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Athletic director, coaches and athletes offer warm embrace for all athletes

Stanford running back Barry Sanders, son of the NFL legend, says 'You Can Play
Stanford running back Barry Sanders, son of the NFL legend, says 'You Can Play
USA TODAY Sports

Stanford University has released a powerful new You Can Play video that makes me proud to be an alum. Included are many of the school's sports from golf and men's basketball to women's water polo and gymnastics. Running back Barry Sanders -- son of the NFL legend by the same name -- also appears in the video. The video was produced by Stanford Athletes and Allies Together and the Cardinal Channel.

Also notable in the video is athletic director Bernard Muir, who doesn't just appear in the video with a statement but sets up the chairs for everyone to sit in. That's incredibly symbolic. The other particularly noteworthy appearance is made by women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, who until now has been reluctant to speak out on LGBT issues. It's awesome to see her voice included in the message.

Talking to many Stanford athletes, past and present, over the last year, it's been clear to me the athletic department there has not done enough to show their support for LGBT athletes. This is a big step in the right direction. The fact that the nation's leading athletic department -- and one of the top academic institutions in the country -- has now publicly joined the push for LGBT equality in sports is significant, and I couldn't be more proud. Of note is Nike's logo, which is all over the video.

StAAT was co-founded by Toni Kokenis (women's basketball), Smriti Sridhar (women's rugby), Noah Garcia (men's swimming and diving), and Annie Graham (women's club soccer). Kokenis will attend the Nike LGBT Sports Summit this week.

Goooooooo Stanford!

Stanford University : If You Can Play, You Can Play (via stanfordathletics)