May 2, 2013

Editorial: Take a stand, local athletes


It is time for zero tolerance toward hate language involving sexual preference.

The NBA recently launched a series of public-service announcements in partnership with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Ad Council. In the campaign, NBA players urge teens not to use anti-gay language.

The effort’s website provides information and displays, for example, how many times certain slurs have been used that day on Twitter alone. The shameful count midday this Tuesday was more than 21,300 for “fag,” 5,950 for “so gay” and 1,895 for “dyke.”

It isn’t easy for teenagers to stand up to friends or teammates who are using inappropriate language. They may fear that accusations will be turned on them or that they won’t get peer support. It will take courage and leadership to speak up.

Some of America’s most respected pro athletes have cheered Collins for his groundbreaking statement, and they have publicly stated that anti-gay slurs are not cool.

Now it is time for young athletes in our area and their coaches to step up and do their part.

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