Houston Texans’ Connor Barwin: 4th NFL Player to Join Athlete Ally Ambassador Program
We're excited to announce that we've added another NFL player to our growing roster: Connor Barwin of the Houston Texans. Barwin comes on board as an Athlete Ally Ambassador preceding Sunday’s Super Bowl, where fellow Athlete Ally Brendon Ayanbadejo will be in action for the Baltimore Ravens.
With the addition of another widely respected player to the Athlete Ally Ambassador program, it’s clear that the NFL’s culture is shifting, and moving towards a space that openly advocates for respect towards LGBT issues.
When asked about joining Athlete Ally Barwin said, “I’ve been a longtime advocate for LGBT equality in sports and elsewhere. Seeing that message go to the Super Bowl this week thanks to Brendon Ayanbadejo just took things to another level and emphasized to me the importance of joining the cause.”
"It’s an incredible moment,“ says Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “Connor Barwin, a star player and cornerstone of LGBT allyship in the NFL, has aligned with our organization on the eve of the greatest sporting event of the year. LGBT youth will soon realize that they are not alone. Recent comments have shown that homophobic attitudes still exist in professional locker rooms. Allies like Connor Barwin make all difference and are creating a movement.”
Barwin, a Detroit native, is 26 year-old linebacker for the Texans, and played at the University of Cincinnati. He was the first professional athlete to ever contact OutSports.com to discuss his views on issues on the LGBT community.
When asked about his advocacy, Barwin said, “My older brother is gay, and I was raised to respect and value all people. Embracing diversity is something I was always taught to do. Becoming an Athlete Ally Ambassador gives me a great opportunity to engage other players, coaches and fans about the importance of inclusiveness. It’s about sportsmanship.”
Sean Avery, the former standout New York Ranger and Athlete Ally Board Member said of the flurry of new ambassadors: “This is the fourth NFL player to sign onto the cause. We’re creating a movement and a climate for a gay professional football player to come out. Things are just going to get bigger and more inclusive from here.”
Brian Ellner, who led the Campaign for New York Marriage and who serves on the Athlete Ally Board of Directors, added: "Connor Barwin joins the Athlete Ally movement at a seminal moment. With the Super Bowl light shining bright on LGBT issues our Athlete Ally Ambassadors are changing the culture of the games we play and will be remembered on the right side of sports history."
As an Athlete Ally Ambassador, Barwin joins Brendon Ayanbadejo of AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens, Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns, Australian ruby star David Pocock and scores of college athletes who have already signed on. Barwin will act as a liaison between the organization and the NFL, help promote Athlete Ally’s mission to end homophobia in sports by speaking out to his team, league and fan base, and encourage his colleagues to join in the effort.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently talked about his longstanding commitment to player conduct pledges and also, how he protected his gay brother from bullies growing up. Goodell's story is another example of why the Athlete Ally mission is in synch with the goals of the NFL. Goodell was profiled on the cover of Time Magazine.