Teams participate in You Can Play
As part of the You Can Play project—a national campaign which aims to combat discrimination in sports based on sexuality—Brandeis Athletics released a video on Oct. 17 supporting students’ right to participate in sports regardless of sexual orientation. The video also emphasized the need to discourage discrimination of any kind in sports. The video was posted on BrandeisNOW, as well as the University’s YouTube page.
The video, created by Allison Milligan, the University’s video production specialist, along with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, highlights Brandeis Athletics’ commitment to social justice and equality in all aspects of Brandeis life, including Athletics, and advocates for providing a supportive environment for all players. In the video, all 19 varsity teams pledged not to tolerate discrimination.
The video began with a quotation from former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress.” The video included clips of students fencing, swimming, playing volleyball and soccer and voiceovers about their mission from the student athletes. One student athlete, who was not named in the voiceover, stated that “there is no place for discrimination with the Judges.”
You Can Play is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation” and “works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success,” according to its website.
Patrick Burke, Brian Kitts and Glenn Wittman founded the project in 2012 after the death of Brendan Burke, Brian’s son and Patrick’s brother, in 2010.
Before his death, Brendan was a student at Miami University, where he played on the school’s hockey team and advocated against homophobia in sports.
After Brendan’s death in a car crash in 2010, Burke, Kitts and Wittman created the You Can Play project to continue and expand on Brendan Burke’s work. Currently, You Can Play is sponsored by the National Hockey League and has gained the support of sports teams from the high school to the professional level.
Awareness of the campaign is spread through videos, such as Brandeis’, as well as fundraising, pledging support through social media and the sale of You Can Play merchandise.
In a statement to BrandeisNOW in an Oct. 17 article, Director of Athletics Sheryl Sousa ’90 commented that she is “extremely proud of our student-athletes for their participation in this project…This is an important message that the entire Brandeis community can support.”