Here we go again folks “professional” athletes using homophobic slurs during a game. What part of professional do they not get?
Kobe Bryant yells at a referee during a game after receiving a technical foul. Now as of recent DeSean Jackson and Gordon Beckham are the latest offenders. These are just recent examples of incidents lately by the so called professional athlete.
But as much as this is an attempt to throw verbal punches at us, we have found a true ally. An amazingly talented rugby player from the UK named Ben Cohen. Many may have never heard of Ben Cohen. He is an accomplished rugby player with 15 years as a top flight player.
Ben could easily side with mainstream sports/media or worse, say nothing at all. However, he is a champion of the word “professional” and has openly condemned Kobe Bryant for his slur. Ben has character, not the kind that makes him funny or just a great guy.
He embodies everyone as a person and as an individual with the ability to have freedom and not be bullied. He is married to Abby, a devoted husband and father to twin daughters. Ben is the first sports star to dedicate his philanthropic efforts for the benefit of LGBT people.
He is currently in the USA to launch his “Acceptance Tour 2011” aimed at raising awareness around LGBT equality and, in particular, youth bullying. The tour stems from his StandUp Foundation. He has worked as an advocate of the gay community in the UK and the USA for many years.
The StandUp Foundation is the world’s first organization dedicated to raising awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying, and stopping it where it occurs.
On the home page of his foundation website you’ll find the following words of encouragement:
I am passionate about standing up against homophobia and feel compelled to take action. It is time we stand up for what is right and support young people who are being harmed. As athletes, it is not enough just to have strong bodies. We must have strong characters and use our voices to support those who need and deserve it. Every person on this planet has a right to be true to themselves, to love and be loved, and to be happy. I encourage others to stand up with me and make a difference. Stand up for equality, stand up against bullying.
I have never personally been the center of any bullying and cannot imagine how damaging this may be for someone. Sadly it appears that this type of unacceptable behavior is on the rise. As much as bullying may be on the uptick, we are now finding many straight athletes using their talents on and off the field to support us. We need to give appreciation and honor those that champion for us.
This month’s OUT Magazine is highlighting many of our supporters which so far include Ben Cohen, Hudson Taylor, Michael Irvin, Mike Chabala and Nick Younquest. It is time we unite as one voice and one goal to eradicate such simple minded hurtfulness. This is the reason I am honored to have an advocate like Ben Cohen and the others listed for us and our youth in the LGBT community. You can find Ben’s StandUp Foundation on Facebook. Please take the time to StandUp with Ben.
Photo credit Ben-Cohen.com.
Spokes is a Richmonder and resident of Virginia for 10 years. He is a small business owner with a passion for outdoor activities - competing in numerous triathlons, sprints, olympics and half ironman distances.
“I felt that being different wasn’t right. I had a girlfriend and I was thinking that, like some people say, maybe it is just a phase.”September 1, 2015
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