May 5, 2014
• You Can Play Project | UW Announcement
MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin Department of Athletics is joining hundreds of college athletic departments, professional sports teams, high schools and other sports organizations around the country in supporting the “You Can Play” project.
“You Can Play” is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.
“You Can Play” works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success.
“You Can Play” seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.
“Through the ‘You Can Play’ project, we are able to communicate to various audiences, most importantly our student-athletes, that Wisconsin Athletics provides inclusive, safe and supportive environments no matter who you are,” said Bridget Woodruff, UW’s Director of Student-Athlete Development. “It allows us to send a message that we are all Badgers and I hope it empowers student-athletes to speak up if they have concerns.”
To illustrate Wisconsin’s support for the “You Can Play” project, the athletic department produced its own video, centering around the message, “If you can play, you can play.” Numerous student-athletes and coaches took part in the video, including (among others) Malayna and Michala Johnson (women’s basketball), Chris Borland (football), Nigel Hayes (men’s basketball), head coach Chris Clark (men’s rowing), head coach Yvette Healy (softball), head coach Mick Byrne (cross country/track & field) and Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez. There are also appearances from UW athletics and campus staff members like Dean of Students Lori Berquam.
“As an out member of the LGBT community, the ‘You Can Play’ project is the perfect fit for UW Athletics,” said UW women’s hockey goalie Ilana Friedman. “The mission statement of UW-Madison and UW Athletics is heavily echoed by the goals of YCP and I am so happy to have helped bring this initiative here to UW. The support and reception from my teammates, fellow Badger athletes, staff from inside the athletic department, and the larger Madison community in response to YCP has been overwhelmingly positive and shows how progressive and outstanding the Wisconsin Badger community truly is.”
The video is available on the official YouTube page of Wisconsin Athletics. It will be used by the UW Student-Athlete Development staff during student-athlete orientation and clips of the video will be shown during Badgers sporting events in Camp Randall Stadium, the Kohl Center and LaBahn Arena.
“The ‘You Can Play’ project helps spread a tremendous message of inclusion and we are honored to be a part of it,” Alvarez said. “We feel it is important to communicate to our student-athletes, staff and fans our support of this mission. I am proud to have been a part of our video and hope it helps to educate everyone that if you can play, you can play.”
For more information on “You Can Play” please visit the project’s website.