This month, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried became the first NBA player to join Athlete Ally, an organization devoted to fighting homophobia in sports.
“Becoming an Athlete Ally gives me the opportunity to spread a message of inclusiveness throughout the NBA and our country,” the 23-year-old rookie said in a statement to the Huffington Post.
The issue hits home for Faried. He was raised in Newark, NJ by a lesbian couple who entered into a civil union in 2007.
“I support civil union…I really do support civil union because the fact that it gives people, gays and lesbians, the right to make decisions on their own if they want to get married – and let them choose who they want to be with.”
Faried may be the first NBA player to join Athlete Ally, but he joins several other professional athletes. Other members include Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens, Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns and Connor Barwin of the Houston Texans.
According to a press release:
Faried will act as a liaison between the organization and the NBA, help promote Athlete Ally’s mission to end homophobia in sports by speaking out to his team, league and fan base, and encouraging his colleagues to join in the effort. The announcement comes as an extension of Athlete Ally’s ongoing relationship with the NBA. In August, the organization worked in partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to deliver a pioneering LGBT awareness training to the 2012 NBA rookies, which included Faried.
This weekend Faried participated in the NBA All-Star Weekend’s Rising Stars game. The second-year forward scored 40 points and added 10 rebounds, earning him MVP honors. Faried also participated in the dunk contest as one of six competitors.
Follow Hassan Washington on Twitter @Hasswash