HRC Ad Promotes 'Level Playing Fields' Before USA Network's 'Ring of Fire'

by HRC Staff

'Good sportsmanship means letting everyone have an equal shot at competing openly and honestly,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.-

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign unveiled a new television ad today that will debut in targeted cities tomorrow night before the USA cable network broadcast &quotRing of Fire,&quot a story based on actual events about a boxing champion who struggled with his sexual orientation. The ad includes images and names of openly gay professional athletes Billy Bean of MLB, Rosie Jones of the LPGA and Esera Tuaolo of the NFL. The ad promotes &quotlevel playing fields&quot for all Americans, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes.

&quotGood sportsmanship means letting everyone have an equal shot at competing openly and honestly,&quot said HRC President Joe Solmonese. &quotFor GLBT athletes, that opportunity often involves extra hurdles of discrimination, and it is time that we level that playing field.&quot

Last week, Sports Illustrated released a poll showing that 86 percent of Americans think that openly gay athletes should not be excluded from team sports. However, the poll went on to say that 68 percent of respondents think it hurts an athlete's career to be openly gay.

&quotOur hope is that this ad will reach America's GLBT youth, who may feel alone and unwelcome, so that they will know that they are welcome and deserving on all playing fields, just like anyone else,&quot said Solmonese. &quotFrom professional competition to playground baseball games, everyone competes at a higher level and goes further when all athletes are allowed an equal chance to play.&quot

The ad will be broadcast in targeted markets around the country, including Atlanta Birmingham, Ala. Denver Milwaukee, Wis. Nashville, Tenn. Salt Lake City Topeka, Kan. and Washington, D.C.
Text of the ad is included below:

&quotSports - they're part of our American way of life. A level playing field, and honoring those who excel. No matter who they are - including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes who have played to the highest level.

"The Human Rights Campaign salutes all athletes for reminding us that, on or off the field, equality and excellence are what make sports andAmerica great.

"Visit Fighting for a level playing field for all Americans."

View the ad in Quicktime format.

View the ad in Windows Media Player format.

View the ad in RealPlayer format.

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email