Recently the You Can Play Project, an advocacy organization that works to end homophobia in sports, announced the addition of new advisory board members that will help to further the organizations scope and increase their outreach capabilities. The GLAAD Amplifier Award-winning You Can Play Project seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit. The three new members consist of former NFL players Wade Davis and Esera Tuaolo, and ESPN.com writer and Baseball Prospectus Co-founder Christina Kahrl.
Wade Davis is a former NFL player who is now a staff member for the Hetrick-Martin Institute where he works closely with LGBT youth. Esera Tuaolo is a former nose tackle who played for many teams in the NFL throughout the 90s. Patrick Burke, founder of the You Can Play Project, stated that he is excited about the addition of both NFL players as, "Wade brings truly unique and irreplaceable insight and perspective to our board… (while) Esera brings a fantastic athletic background, exceptional work as an LGBT advocate and a deep understanding of faith issues". Wade Davis stated that, "I've always believed the vast majority of athletes are against discrimination and prejudice of all kinds and You Can Play is providing athletes with a platform to prove that. As an ex-professional player, I empathize and understand the attitude and mindset of athletes and as a youth advocate, I also understand how sports can influence lives and impact positive life choices.”
Esera Tuaolo detailed that “Bridging the divide between sports and faith is critically important. (and) As a former NFL player, I poured my heart and soul into the game and did my best to help make the league what it is today, and I’m very excited to help my fellow gay NFL brothers."
Christina Kahrl is the Co-founder of Baseball Prospectus, which is an organization that publishes a sabermetric analysis of baseball. Kahrl is a transgender sportswriter and vocal civil rights advocate for the transgender community. She is also a member of the Baseball Writers Association of
America and is currently writing and editing pieces for ESPN.com. Burke said, “From day one of our launch I have been actively seeking a transgender member of the sports community who can guide our work and outreach towards a community too often ignored. Christina’s brilliance in the baseball world, her openness and honesty when discussing her transition, and her tireless advocacy on behalf of transgender youth makes her an exceptional fit for this role. Christina’s leadership will ensure that You Can Play truly provides outreach to every member of the LGBT athletic community.” Kahrl herself said that, "Working within national coverage of Major League Baseball and as a member of the BBWAA, my hope would be to help make it easier for baseball's first out player to come out" among helping bridge gaps the LGBT community and sports.
All three new additions to the You Can Play Project advisory board have extensive experience with LGBT issues and the world of sports. Their presence within and contribution to the organization should serve to greatly aid in the efforts of the organization. With their help the hope is that one day LGBT athletes will be able to play their respective sport within an inclusive and hate-free environment.