May 28, 2014
HRC Commends Alabama SEC Football Teams for Welcoming Gay Football Players
Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Auburn Coach Gus Malzhan say gay athletes have a place on their respective rosters
Washington – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) commended the football coaches at Alabama’s two Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools. Both coaches have stated recently gay athletes are welcome on their respective teams. In a report by NFL.com Tuesday, University of Alabama Coach Nick Saban said he would sign a recruit regardless of sexual orientation. Saban’s comments follow Auburn University Coach Gus Malzhan’s similar statements made earlier this year.
“At the end of the day all that matters on the playing field is performance. The fact that these two coaches will give gay athletes a fair shot at success is testament to their character and their leadership skills as coaches,” said HRC Project One America director Brad Clark.
In the report by NFL.com, the Tide Coach said of gay players, "As long as we respect them, and they should respect us, I would have no problem with it." Earlier this year, Coach Malzhan also said gay football players are “no doubt” welcome to join the Tiger football team.
There is a growing trend of welcoming spaces being created in the world of collegiate football. In February, Michael Sam made history as the first Division I college football to come out. Sam was defensive end for the University of Missouri and 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He signed this month with the St. Louis Rams.
In a recent HRC study, a quarter of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender(LGBT) people surveyed say they have experienced bullying at school and more than half say they have been victims of verbal abuse. Making sure that teacher, parents and other adults are supportive LGBT people is a top priority for Project One America. The community-based program focuses on building lasting LGBT presence and infrastructure.
A full time local staff and dedicated office space will soon form HRC Alabama. For details on Project One America in Alabama, http://www.hrc.org/states/alabama
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. HRC’s Project One America is an unprecedented effort to dramatically expand LGBT equality in the South through permanent campaigns in Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.