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National Black Justice Coalition Joins Campaign to Support Michael Sam with Brendon Ayanbadejo

WASHINGTON, DC (February 12, 2014) – With the announcement that Michael Sam, the University of Missouri’s star defensive end, has made history by publicly coming out as the first high profile openly gay NFL prospect, Athlete Ally launched an online campaign to mobilize support for Sam. The campaign, launched yesterday by Brendon Ayanbadejo as a reaction to backlash against Sam, is now joined by the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. 

“Michael’s announcement is huge. While there's been a strong show of support for him by the NFL, his Missouri teammates and coaches, and fans, there is also speculation that the NFL isn’t ready for a gay player. I don’t believe that’s the case. What Michael needs now is to hear the support of fans across the country and the world.” said Super Bowl champion and human rights activist Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is a member of the Athlete Ally Board of Directors.

“Michael Sam has made a historic and courageous decision to live his authentic truth for the world to see,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of NBJC. “Sam continues the tradition of breaking down barriers for not only LGBT athletes who dream of playing professional sports, but all LGBT people, young and old, who seek to live openly, honestly and safely in their neighborhoods and communities. NBJC is proud to join with Athlete Ally to support Michael Sam and begin the conversation around LGBT athletes in sports and how we can collectively work towards making sports safe for all.”

About Athlete Ally

Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization that educates and empowers the athletic community to take a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports. Athlete Ally works with the NFL and NFL Players Association on player awareness and sensitivity on LGBT issues, as well as with the MLB, NBA, and NBPA on player development and LGBT inclusion. It also co-wrote the NCAA’s LGBT policies and resource guides.

Athlete Ally also co-launched the Principle 6 campaign around the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Principle 6 is a campaign inspired by the values of the Olympic Charter as a way for athletes, fans and global supporters to celebrate the Olympic principle of non-discrimination and speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws.

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About NBJC

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black LGBT people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia. Since 2003, NBJC has provided leadership at the intersection of national civil rights groups and LGBT organizations, advocating for the unique challenges and needs of the African American LGBT community that are often relegated to the sidelines.  

NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully-empowered to participate safely, openly and honestly in family, faith and community, regardless of race, class, gender identity or sexual orientation.


To Contact NBJC:

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.