In a first, the men's professional sports teams in the San Francisco Bay Area have teamed up with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area to produce a You Can Play video that speaks not for a team or a school but an entire city (see video below). The video features the voices of some of the most prominent athletes in the area:
- San Francisco Giants’ Barry Zito, two-time World Series champion and 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner
- Oakland Athletics’ Coco Crisp, 2007 World Series champion and 12-year MLB veteran
- Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, 2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team guard
- San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton, six-time All-Star and 2006 Hart Memorial Trophy winner
- San Francisco 49ers’ Vernon Davis, 2009 Pro Bowl tight end and seven-year NFL veteran
- Oakland Raiders’ Marcel Reece, 2012 Pro Bowl fullback
- San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski, two-time MLS Cup champion and 2012 MLS MVP
"I think what this shows is that speaking up on this issue is no longer particularly rare," You Can Play founder Patrick Burke told Outsports. "It's important for young LGBT athletes and fans to see their role models speak up and defend their right to play, and the impact of messages like this are tremendous. But looking at the big picture, what it shows is that pro athletes are increasingly willing to speak up on this issue, regardless of sport, age, race, gender, religion, talent level, whatever. It's no longer pulling teeth and then holding a press conference when an athlete is willing to do it. The public perception of athletes has caught up to where they actually are- most guys are just fine with a gay teammate, as long as he does his job."
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area has done various features on LGBT sports in the past, including a documentary about Glenn Burke and an hour-long special last year in which they interviewed various sports professionals about LGBT issues.
"We are pleased to partner with You Can Play, a pioneering advocate for LGBT outreach and equality in sports," Ted Griggs, president of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, said. "We support their overriding message that every athlete should be a good teammate and welcome others regardless of their sexual orientation. I am thrilled that Comcast SportsNet Bay Area is the first regional sports network in the nation to produce a series of public service announcements with local professional athletes supporting the LGBT community in sports."
Hopefully we'll see local TV networks in other cities take up the idea and produce similar videos elsewhere. But it shouldn't be a big surprise that it would be the Bay Area to produce the first video of its kind; The Giants were the first pro team to create an It Gets Better video.
"We're grateful to all seven players for their participation, and to CSN Bay Area for filming and producing the spot," Burke said. "We absolutely hope to replicate this in other cities."
Read more at USA Today.