Ryan Kesler thinks that if you can play, You Can Play

The You Can Play initiative started by the Burke family has a simple message that should resonate with everyone who hears it: if you can play, you can play. In hockey, nothing else should matter, and they have created a number of PSAs with NHL stars stating that this is the case. According to these videos, the only thing that matters is how well you play the game. Race, country, and creed don’t matter and, most importantly for the Burke family, neither does sexual orientation.

Ryan Kesler has now joined the lengthy list of NHL stars lending their names to the You Can Play initiative, speaking up for those who may fear speaking up for themselves. He appears in a PSA with former Canuck Tanner Glass and former pain-in-the-Canuck Dustin Byfuglien.

The You Can Play initiative specifically asked for Kesler to contribute according to Patrick Burke, who initially got to meet him when the Canuck centre was drafted by his father.

Kesler was exactly the kind of player they wanted and for an interesting reason. “Guys around the league respect him and respect the way he plays,” said Patrick, “He’s a warrior out there. One of the goals behind the initiative is breaking down stereotypes and there’s this idea that if you stand up for gay rights, then you must be gay. We want to fight that.”

“We want to make it so no one says that, no one questions it. No one says, ‘Oh, he did a PSA for gay athletes, he must be gay himself.’ A warrior like Ryan and the other guys who have been involved with us and who are happily and openly in committed relationships with women, it provides a little different dynamic.”

Evidently, Kesler is so overtly straight that he was the perfect man for the job.

I appreciate the message and intent of the You Can Play initiative, but I especially appreciate how focussed they have been with their message. As Patrick made clear in an interview with Canucks Army’s Thomas Drance, they have no interest in political battles, such as those over gay marriage. “Treating your teammates, fans and coaches with respect, and not using homophobic slurs are the only things we ask.”

Tags: , , ,

21 comments

  1. mac n cheese
    June 12, 2012

    Many likes.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
  2. MaggieLizer
    June 12, 2012

    Great to see Tanner Glass doing this, as well! I wonder when Henrik Sedin’s is coming out.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +14 (from 36 votes)
    • MaggieLizer
      June 12, 2012

      I got minus three votes for this… y’all know I meant Hank’s PSA, right? Because he’s making one as well?

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +30 (from 32 votes)
      • tj
        June 12, 2012

        Interesting response from people! In their reading they saw a contraction and a typo, instead of a correctly-formed possessive. I thumbs-down them!

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +17 (from 19 votes)
      • Winsy
        June 12, 2012

        I did a double take, but totally understood what you meant when I re-read it.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  3. David Mudkips
    June 12, 2012

    I wonder what David Booth thinks!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -12 (from 20 votes)
    • paul
      June 12, 2012

      It’s irrelevant isn’t it? The studies are 10% of people are gay or somewhat gay or…whatever….my research finds that 17% of people are small minded idiots. Just because he’s an American Christian who enjoys hunting doesn’t mean he’s one of those “god hates Fags” types. Could very well be he could care less who sleeps with who. Cause that’s what it comes down to. If you don’t sleep with my lover I’m just fine with you.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +13 (from 17 votes)
    • Winsy
      June 12, 2012

      Sorry everyone, but I kinda agree with him… I’ll put ya back up one!

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -1 (from 3 votes)
  4. sarah
    June 12, 2012

    Everything I hear about Tanner Glass only confirms my love for him. He recently did a Twitter Q and A and came across as very interesting and intelligent. Cheers to Kes and Buf too. And cheers to the NHL for actively challenging this prejudice.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +26 (from 26 votes)
    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      June 12, 2012

      And let’s not forget his acumen for Scrabble. It seems ironic for a guy who plays a “simple game” out there, but Tanner is definitely one of the brighter lights in the league.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +15 (from 17 votes)
    • Nee
      June 12, 2012

      He also just completed a vacation in India. He’s a cool guy.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  5. Tamara B
    June 12, 2012

    A sight for sore eyes and a balm for the soul after watching the Kings win the Cup ;)

    Love it!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  6. Anonymous
    June 12, 2012

    Kesler is so overtly straight that he was the perfect man for the job.

    Sad that we have to think that way to make close-minded people open up their minds, but it is what it is. Masculine guys can be decent human beings too, who’d have thought?

    This is a great initiative thought and I hope it really does change the culture of the NHL.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
    • Ineedabeard
      June 18, 2012

      Not to mention that there are plenty of masculine gay guys out there too, they just aren’t as visible.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  7. akidd
    June 12, 2012

    that’s quite the zit kes is sporting there. it looks like he’s growing his own winger. better lay off the fancy, rich hotel sandwiches for a while:)

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 13 votes)
  8. Nee
    June 12, 2012

    Fantastic. And it would be really neat if the Sedins did a PSA. Bieksa too…he’s a tough guy, so it would send a strong message to the more close minded people.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • MaggieLizer
      June 13, 2012

      Henrik is making one for sure.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
  9. Mike H.
    June 12, 2012

    Wow! Dustin Byfuglien is really fat.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 9 votes)
  10. Benner
    June 12, 2012

    Nice article… yet the sell out continues with the white spot add… won’t be long until Drance Numbers is ‘Triple – O – nalysis’ ;) just kidding, cash in, we love this page!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  11. Lenny
    June 12, 2012

    Big Buff looks overweight.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  12. anon
    June 13, 2012

    I would LOVE to know PiTB’s thoughts on gay marriage. Seriously.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)