NHL players speak out against Russia's antigay laws

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      Several NHL players, including Team Canada star Sidney Crosby, have joined the legions of international voices that have spoken out against Russia's homophobic legislation.

      At a news conference on August 25 at Hockey Canada's headquarters to launch Canada's Olympic orientation camp in Calgary, Crosby, who scored Team Canada's game-winning goal in overtime at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, made his views clear.

      "For me growing up in Canada, my view has always been that way," he said. "I think that everyone has an equal right to play, and I think we've been supportive of that. With the Olympics and the controversy around that I think those decisions and those laws aren't necessarily something that I agree with personally...."

      Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, who is also against the law, feels that athletes shouldn't boycott the Olympics but attend and protest homophobic attitudes.

      "It’s hard to go into a country that supports something like that," he said. "I think as athletes we have to find a way to use it to our advantage—gay rights especially but human rights, to really move it forward."

      Defenseman Dan Boyle from Ottawa, Ontario, and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steve Stamkos from Markham, Ontario, also expressed their disagreement with the Russian law.

      About 10 of the 47 hockey players at the camp have endorsed the You Can Play project, which is designed to address homophobia in sport.

      Meanwhile, on August 25, former Olympians marched in Ottawa's Pride parade for the first time.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT.




      Aug 26, 2013 at 12:26pm

      But NHL players only play in Russia for a month -- they'll be playing in Quebec all year?

      So who can play and be proud of who they are publicly, without being accusing of 'promoting' THEIR lifestyle and damaging the culture now?

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      Lawrence Hearn

      Aug 26, 2013 at 1:49pm

      But not a word against US spying on everyone, not a word on Israel's mass murder of children in Gaza, not a word on Harper's anti-pot laws amking criminals of millions and careers for police and lawyers, not a word on the brutal cruelty of industrial farming, not a word on Amarica's gun craze, not a word on all the pressing issues of the day. I suspect the manipulation of public opinion in this anti Russian frenzy probably can be traced back to Barack the Bombers secret police and their agents provocateurs in retaliation for Russia not handing over Edward Snowden to American torturers. Really a law against sexual propaganda to minors is really not such a major issue. But then NHL players, like Americans, are not known for their ability at creative thought.

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      Aug 27, 2013 at 1:38pm

      It's been said for a long time - don't mix sport with politics. It's another way to eliminate the Russians from any hockey confrontation with the Canadians down the road. They showed their paws with the Canadians in the way the latter are not really proud of. The Russians are becoming stronger and stronger on ice so maybe to eliminate them in this way (show of hands from hockey chauvinists here...) And to Sid - boy, concentrate on your health and stop showing off what's really not that necessary.

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      Aug 27, 2013 at 2:08pm

      Lawrence, you sound paranoid. Hard to believe, but not everything in the world is America's fault.

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      Aug 28, 2013 at 6:50pm

      It would be nice to hear from some Russian/USSR born NHL players...

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