Matt Hendricks, ice hockey center of the Washington Capitals, announced Tuesday that he and the franchise are supporting “You Can Play”, an initiative to foster equality, respect and safety for all athletes, regardless of sexual orientation. Hendricks and the Capitals join D.C. United, the George Washington University athletic department, and many other professional athletes and teams in supporting the project, reports the Washington Post.
“It struck a spot in my heart that we want equality throughout all sporting arenas … Parents need to be aware of how to teach their kids the proper way to talk in a locker room,” said Hendricks. The NHL player recorded a public service announcement, prominently displayed on You Can Play’s website, expressing the need for equality and inclusion in sports.
You Can Play was started in March by Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers who launched the project a month after his brother Brendan died. Brendan was gay and spoke out “courageously about his own sexuality in an environment that hasn’t traditionally welcomed such talk,” states the Washington Post. “The exciting thing for us has been the players and the schools and the teams that now are calling us,” Patrick said of the increased interest in You Can Play.
In expressing his support for You Can Play, Hendricks declared, “I think it’s important that [LGBT] players are able to speak freely about [their sexuality]. We’re moving on. We’re evolving as a society. I think it’s an important thing for sports, because sports should be a part of everyone’s lives, regardless of sexual orientation.”