WATCH: Bay Area Pro Athletes Tell LGBT Teammates 'You Can Play'
A new public service announcement from Comcast SportsNet Bay Area uses star athletes from the Northern California region's seven professional sports teams to encourage LGBT athletes to feel comfortable coming out in the locker room or on the field.
"You want to play on our team?" asks the San Francisco 49ers' Vernon Davis in a close-cropped shot. "If you can play, then you can play."
The PSA, which began airing Wednesday, also features Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes, Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants, Coco Crisp of the Oakland A's, and Marcel Reese of the Oakland Raiders.
Each of the athletes echo the "You can play" sentiment, with several later clarifying, "gay, straight, bisexual, whatever. If you can play, you can play."
The spot is part of an ongoing campaign by the same name cofounded last year by Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers that aims to ensure "equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation."
While the You Can Play Project is a national effort, the San Jose Mercury News reports it was particularly easy to find professional athletes willing to participate in the Bay Area. Producer Sean Maddison reached out to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area president Ted Griggs, who wrote an email to each of the area's major sports franchises.
"And the teams — every single one of them — sent an answer back within five or 10 minutes saying, 'we're in,'" Griggs told the Mercury News.
"I jumped right in for the opportunity," soccer player Wondolowski told the Mercury News. "I can't imagine how much courage and bravery it wouldtake to come out. I hope we can relay the message that athletes would love to have you as a teammate if you can play. And when you have a locker room full of supportive people, it makes the transition that much easier."
Last year, the You Can Play Project released a PSA featuring professional hockey players reaching out to LGBT athletes and would-be teammates. Watch the newest PSA below.