SBD/September 27, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL In New CBA Bans Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

The NFL "quietly" adopted new language for the '11 CBA that bans "discrimination based on 'sexual orientation,'" according to Amanda Terkel of the HUFFINGTON POST. Sexual orientation was not addressed in the CBA signed in '06, which read there would be no discrimination based on "race, religion, national origin or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA." It is "not entirely clear who pushed for the inclusion of the language this time, but it's noteworthy that two of the nation's highest-profile lawyers pushing for marriage equality were at the negotiating table." NFLPA Assistant Exec Dir for External Affairs George Atallah said, "We definitely understand the effect that we have on society and culture, and feel we have a responsibility to have very high standards." Terkel noted the NFL has "received some criticism for not producing any videos for the 'It Gets Better' project," but several individual NFL players "have spoken out in favor of LGBT rights." Ravens LB Brendon Ayanbadejo and Browns LB Scott Fujita are "both outspoken advocates of marriage equality," while Giants Chair & Exec VP Steve Tisch and former NFLer and current Fox analyst Michael Strahan each "filmed a video in support of marriage equality" (HUFFINGTONPOST.com, 9/26).

HARSH WORDS: In N.Y., Jeff Klein notes Flyers RW Wayne Simmonds "apparently directed a homophobic epithet" at Rangers LW Sean Avery during the first period of a preseason game yesterday. Simmonds "seemed to make the comment to Avery" on television and video replays, and Avery after the game confirmed that Simmonds "had used a slur and denied saying anything to warrant it." Avery: "To be here now and to have to answer questions about what he did is disappointing for me, disappointing for him. [Lakers G] Kobe Bryant got fined a hundred grand. It's an issue people are dealing with and trying to overcome. Ten years ago, maybe it wasn't so much of an issue, but it's certainly an issue politically, with people in the game, and just in life in general." Simmonds said, "I don't recall every single word I said to him" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/27).
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