ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals and forward Matt Hendricks are proud to announce their support for the “You Can Play” project, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.
Hendricks joins many professional and amateur athletes from around the world to speak in support of You Can Play by recording a public service announcement focusing solely on an athlete’s skills and work ethic rather than sexual orientation. The PSA for the You Can Play project debuts today on WashingtonCaps.com and YouCanPlayProject.org.
“I’m honored to join many other athletes and show my support for You Can Play,” said Hendricks. “I believe in equality for all people, and everyone should be able to be given a fair opportunity to compete and play the game they love.”
“We are proud to stand with Matt Hendricks and athletes across the globe to make a difference in the sports community,” said founder, chairman, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis. “You Can Play is an important cause, and we value this opportunity to have a role in its mission.”
The You Can Play project seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit. The project launched its first PSA during the Boston Bruins/New York Rangers game on NBC on March 4, 2012.
Co-founder Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, appeared in the debut PSA with his father Brian Burke, the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Patrick is the older brother of Brendan Burke, who made headlines for being an openly gay equipment manager for the Miami University Riverhawks in 2009. Brendan died tragically when his car lost control in a snow storm on an Indiana highway in February 2010. Patrick carries on his little brother’s legacy and vision with the You Can Play project.
“Matt Hendricks was one of the players who reached out to us to find ways to get involved,” said Patrick Burke. “Seeing NHL players like Matt go out of their way to reach to us is incredible, and it really shows that the NHL is setting the bar for inclusiveness. We are grateful for Matt, Mr. Leonsis, Mr. George McPhee and the rest of the Capitals organization for their support of You Can Play.”
Players throughout the National Hockey League have joined the You Can Play Project and have lent their voice to the campaign with their own “If You Can Play, You Can Play” videos. For more information on You Can Play, visit YouCanPlayProject.org.