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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 26, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 34
Seattle sports teams make 'It Gets Better' video
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Seattle sports teams make 'It Gets Better' video

by Joshua Michael Rumley - SGN Contributing Writer

In a united show of support for the LGBT community, the four major league sports teams in Seattle - the Seattle Seahawks, the Sounders FC, the Seattle Storm, and the Mariners - came together to produce their own It Gets Better video.

The It Gets Better Project was started by Dan Savage, syndicated columnist (Savage Love) and LGBT activist, in response to the recent string of LGBT youth suicides across the country. The project has produced an impressive lineup of people who have created a video in show of support for the LGBT community, including President Obama, Lady Gaga, thousands of American citizens, and now the Seattle teams.

'I was stuck in traffic when I first heard about the video,' said Eric Williams. 'I was very surprised when they decided to make the video. It really does show the amazing support the LGBT community has in the area.'

Williams, who served in the U.S. Army for four and a half years and served time in Iraq, created an online petition on Change.org asking each of the sports teams in Seattle to create an It Gets Better video. Change.org allows people to create online petitions drawing attention to important issues covering a variety of important topics, from Gay rights to environmental issues.

'He was just leaving the military when Williams started his petition,' said Joe Mirabella, organizing manger at Change.org. 'This was his opportunity to come out because of his time in the military under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

Williams, who is from the small town of Excelsior Springs, MO, moved to Seattle after leaving the Army.

'My favorite baseball team when I was younger - and I'm sure this will make Missouri people's head spin - was the Mariners. It's ironic that I ended up here,' said Williams. 'I love living here. I'm very proud about how progressive we are here.'

Major league sports has been a hotbed of homophobia, and in recent years there have been major news stories involving some of sport's biggest stars making remarks against the LGBT community. Recently, Kobe Bryant was slapped with a $100,000 fine for using the word 'faggot' on camera. The recent string of homophobic remarks prompted fans across the country to speak out against the players and teams involved with the remarks.

'Sean Chapin started the first petition asking a major league sports team to proactively engage the LGBT community,' said Mirabella. 'It was incredibly successful. His petition is what prompted the San Francisco Giants to create their video.'

The San Francisco Giants were the first major league sports team to create an It Gets Better video. The video created by the Seattle teams is the first to feature a professional football team, the Seahawks. The Seattle video is also the only one that represents all of the local major league teams in one video.

'All the teams in Seattle participated. It's the only video of its kind,' said Mirabella. 'This really shows the world of professional sports that this is something their fans will support.'

Mirabella notes that there hasn't yet been a single male athlete to come out of the closet while still playing for a major league sports team.

'Male professional sports have a very macho atmosphere,' said Mirabella. 'This video really shows the world of professional sports that this is something their fans will support. Whoever is the first athlete to come out while playing will meet a community of fans with open arms.'

More information about the It Gets Better Project, including the Seattle sports team video, can be found at www.itgetsbetter.org.

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