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Yankees Icon Yogi Berra Voices Support For Jason Collins And Forms Partnership With Athlete Ally

by David Badash on May 1, 2013

in News,Sports

Post image for Yankees Icon Yogi Berra Voices Support For Jason Collins And Forms Partnership With Athlete Ally

“Whatever background or whatever you are, it doesn’s matter. Treat everyone the same, that’s how it should be.” — Yogi Berra, announcing the partnership with Athlete Ally 

Baseball icon Yogi Berra has voiced support for the NBA’s Jason Collins and supports his coming out announcement. Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center director Dave Kaplan told The New Civil Rights Movement by telephone today that the Yankees icon learned Monday of Collins’ coming out and thought it was “fine,” and “he wishes him all the best.”

Coincidentally, just one day before Jason Collins’ coming out announcement, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center announced an historic partnership with Hudson Taylor’s Athlete Ally organization.

“Sharing the similar mission of promoting inclusion and respect in sports, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center (YBMLC) and Athlete Ally have formed a groundbreaking partnership to raise awareness about and combat prejudice and homophobia in the sports community,” the two groups announced in a joint press release dated April 28.

“The news comes after months of collaboration between the organizations to design a pioneering museum exhibit and programming on allyship in sports,” the statement adds:

When asked about the significance of YBMLC’s partnership with Athlete Ally, Yogi Berra said: “Respect the game, respect others – that’s what I always learned in sports.” Mr. Berra, whose playing career (1946-63) with the Yankees included 10 world championships and three MVP Awards, also added: “Whatever background or whatever you are, it doesn’s matter. Treat everyone the same, that’s how it should be.

Under the leadership of Founder and Executive Director Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally will design a series of sustainable programs for the YBMLC, providing ways for coaches, parents and young athletes to prevent homophobia, ensuring that every athlete feels welcome and respected on and off the playing field.

Taylor said: “The YBMLC is an institutional pillar of American sportsmanship and character and the ideal platform to discuss and explore respect in sports.” Taylor added: “With both a pioneering exhibit and innovative programming, this partnership will offer the sports community meaningful education and resources for learning about and empowering LGBT allyship in sports. We’re honored to be collaborating with YBMLC and so grateful for their leadership on this issue.”

Consistent with its history of culturally diverse programs, the YBMLC, in partnership with Athlete Ally, will unveil a new exhibit in mid-June 2013 entitled “Championing Respect.” The 800-square foot exhibit will examine the evolution of societal attitudes around inclusion and acceptance in sports, from Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947 to the courageous strides made by women in the sports world, up to the current social movement to end homophobia in sports. The exhibit will focus on the critical role played by athlete allies in accepting and respecting all people, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

“We are delighted to partner with Athlete Ally and commend their impressive work in empowering allies and helping change the sports culture for the better,” said Dave Kaplan, director of the YBMLC.” Collaborating on these programs, and developing Championing Respect, will serve to educate more people and provide insight into how individuals and movements can change existing prejudices within athletics.”

The Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center is located on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls, New Jersey.

Almost 13,000 people have signed Athlete Ally’s pledge, which reads:

I pledge to lead my athletic community to respect and welcome all persons, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Beginning right now, I will do my part to promote the best of athletics by making all players feel respected on and off the field.

Image of Yogi Berra via Wikipedia

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{ 1 comment }

LOrion May 1, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Tweeted this one to Keith O.

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