New York – With an assist from Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson, the New York Giants have voiced their support for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) athletes, coaches and fans through the team's support of the You Can Play Project - debuting the team's You Can Play video October 24.
Carson, who spent his entire career with the Giants, is joined in the You Can Play video by wide receiver Victor Cruz, cornerback Prince Amukamara, kicker Josh Brown, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, center Weston Richburg, long-snapper and special teams captain Zak DeOssie, running back Shane Vereen, and former offensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl champion David Diehl.
According to Steve Tisch, the Giants Chairman, "We have an incredible platform to address serious issues in our society, not just in sports. And there is no better use of our platform than to state unequivocally that everybody – including the LGBT community, which includes athletes and coaches, administrators and fans – deserves an opportunity to play and succeed based on ability and merit. You Can Play was founded on those principles in the memory of Brendan Burke, and we are grateful to share in and spread You Can Play's message."
The video showcases Carson and the current Giants speaking about the opportunity for all athletes to be "judged only by their talent, character and work ethic." You Can Play is a non-profit working to erase homophobia from locker rooms and sports venues. DeOssie, a nine--year veteran, describes why he decided to voice his support: "As I say in the video, the New York Giants believe that all athletes should be afforded equal opportunity and judged only by their talent, character and work ethic. All any of us want is an opportunity to be judged on our ability. Everybody, regardless of background or sexual orientation, deserves that chance."
John Mara, Giants President, explains, "My family has been involved in the ultimate team sport all of my life. The definition of team is taking a group of people from all walks of life and bringing them together to work towards a common goal, whether that be on the playing field or in a corporate office. We are proud to support You Can Play and its mission to ensure safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports."
"You Can Play is proud to receive the Giants' tremendous show of support," said Wade Davis, You Can Play's executive director and a former NFL player. "The entire Giants organization has committed to inclusion for all, including LGBT athletes and fans. The vocal support of the Giants' president, chairman, alumni like Harry Carson, the Giants' front office staff, and current players, sends a big message to all sports fans, especially young fans, everywhere. We are thrilled to see the Giants leading the charge in the NFL for LGBT inclusion."
In addition to the video, You Can Play announced that the Giants will host a special You Can Play game day event and tailgate on December 20, 2015, when the Giants take on the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. You Can Play has presented several times to Giants players, coaches, and management on LGBT inclusion and creating a safe and inclusive locker room environment. The Giants Foundation also has provided a grant to support You Can Play's work in fighting homophobia.