fans, and fellow "Game Time" readers: after the unfortunate interview of not just a former Blues' player, but also a guy from our town, Cam Janssen
, I suggest that it is an appropriate time to consider the issue of the YOU CAN PLAY initiative in hockey.
"You Can Play" is just one of many reasons why I love the game of hockey. It is the most visible and courageous outreach of any major sport toward the LGBT community. I am only 57, but I am one of the "old guys" when it comes to Blues' hockey, since I actually did attend my first game in 1967. Does anyone doubt that by 1967, there had probably been several gay athletes in the NHL? On the sacred chalice that we Blues' fans have yet to savour, can anyone deny that the names of gay athletes are etched on that grail? If 22 or 23 gay athletes got together on the Blues one year, and delivered the Cup to our city, would we care about their sexual orientation? Of course not, because they could PLAY.
I was a high-level athlete in my high school during the '70s. I know all about Gay "slurs," trying to insult and intimidate the competition. But, those days are gone. Cam fell back into the old thinking briefly during the interview, but I think I am right in asserting that he is not that type of person: Cam Janssen is a class act and will be on the forefront of You Can Play going forward.
I would like to see the St Louis Game Time website take a leadership position on this issue. It would take courage, because this mind-set is very new. Until very recently, it would be acceptable for us, especially former athletes, to diminish LGBT individuals with our thoughts and taunts. But if Hockey, behind the leadership of the Burke family, is going to be on the forefront of this cause, then as a lifelong Blues' fan, I would like to see us, here in St Louis, jump to the front of the pack to support this cause. In this, if not yet the Cup, we can be 1 of 30.
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