Kenneth Faried is standing tall against homophobia. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Denver Nuggets forward has become the first NBA player to join Athlete Ally, an organization aimed at combating homophobia in sports.
Athlete Ally is an organization founded by former Maryland wrestler, Hudson Taylor in January 2011 and the focus is enlisting other professional athletes from major sports to help raise awareness and educate others against antigay bullying.
Faried will join players such as Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, Chris Kluwe, and the outspoken punter of the Minnesota Vikings. Both NFL players played active roles and continue to be vocal contributions towards equal rights. So there are no Major League Baseball players who have joined the organization.
The 23-year old Faried is not only an NBA basketball player, he was raised by a lesbian couple and understands first-hand the love they share and the obstacles they’ve had to overcome. Most importantly he knows how vital it is to feel welcomed, especially in the sports community.
“I have two moms and I love them both very much. I respect, honor and support them in every way. The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the LGBT community – whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans – to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities.”
So far the only NBA player to come out as gay was John Amaechi which he made public in his 2007 New York Times best-selling book, Man in the Middle. Amaechi emphasized that he didn’t want to be a hero but just wanted to make “people aware that gay people don’t just look like Jack from ‘Will and Grace’, and that they don’t want to jump your bones every occasion.”
This awareness and now the leadership that is being shown by Kenneth Faried will be key factors in raising the level of respect and comfort for any player who may decide to come out as gay in the NBA and all of sports.
The NBA as a league is standing behind Faried. Kathy Behrens, the league’s executive vice president for social responsibility and player programs released the following statement:
“We are proud to work with Athlete Ally and thank Kenneth for his leadership on this issue. His support on this issue is a welcome step in the N.B.A’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about and end homophobia in sports.”