Former NFL player and openly gay man Wade Davis has been named the new Executive Director for You Can Play, an organization formed in 2012 that works to combat anti-LGBT bias in sports.
Davis is one of the very few African-Americans to lead a national LGBT organization. In the past, he has been very conscious to discuss the importance of intersectionality (the interactions of and complex relationships that different minorities or oppressed groups face).
"I think it's powerful to have an LGBT person helping lead a movement that has, on the face of it, been primarily lead by straight people," Davis told Outsports. "I want to continue to give LGBT people voices in their own movement."
You Can Play has worked with Major League Soccer, the American East Conference, as well as individual sports teams and sports conferences. You Can Play is a member of the LGBT Sports Coalition and works closely with GLAAD on its work in athletics.
The full press release from You Can Play:
Former NFL player Wade Davis has been named as Executive Director by the You Can Play Project, an advocacy group working for equality for LGBT athletes in sports.
Davis is a former NFL player who is one of a small number of openly gay men to have played professional sports. Davis played college football at Weber State before spending four years with NFL practice squads and in NFL Europe. In addition to his collegiate and professional sports background, Davis has spent the last two and a half years working with inner-city LGBTQ youth at the prestigious Hetrik-Martin Institute in New York City. This year, Davis co-founded the You Belong Initiative, which partnered with the NBA, You Can Play, and other LGBT Sports groups to provide the world's first LGBTQ sports camp to inner city youth. A member of this year's HBO "Out List", Davis has written for the New York Times, Huffington Post, Outsports.com, and other major media outlets. Davis appears on the boards of the GLSEN Sports Project and Go! Athletes.
Said You Can Play co-founders Patrick Burke, Brian Kitts, and Glenn Witman in a joint statement, "Wade is an absolute home run addition for You Can Play. With a background in both professional sports and in working directly with LGBT youth, he has what can only be described as utterly unique expertise. He has worked with numerous non-profits before, and as the founder of the You Belong Initiative he has experience in fundraising, development, and administration. He brings the ability to connect with pro athletes, with kids, and with media. He is an athlete, an academic, a teacher, a coach, a businessman, and a leader."
"I am honored to have the opportunity to join such a ground-breaking organization in You Can Play," said Davis. "In a short period of time, their work has made significant strides in changing the culture of the sports world. I am hopeful that my background as an athlete and an LGBT youth advocate will allow me to take You Can Play to the next level."
Davis was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and graduated from Overland High School in Aurora, Colo. He attended Mesa State College in Colorado and Weber State University in Utah. He most recently has served as assistant director of job readiness/exploration for the Hetrick-Martin Institute. Davis will be responsible for daily operations, fundraising and curriculum development for You Can Play. He will report to the organization's board of directors.
You can learn more about You Can Play at youcanplayproject.org.