Although the Black Bears were defeated by the Blue Devils yesterday, they won the hearts of LGBTI people world-wide. The Maine Black Bears basketball team wore rainbow shirts protesting the anti-LGBTI bill in North Carolina. The Blue Devils are from Duke University in North Carolina.
During the warm-up for the game, players donned t-shirts with the American East Conference logo in rainbow colors to protest the infamous HB2 ruling.
The shirts are in partnership with American East Conference and You Can Play, an initiative to spread awareness for LGBTI inclusion in sport.
the Black Bears only wore the shirts during the warm-up, but it was enough to make national headlines.
Maine senior Marko Pirovic told CBS Sports: ‘Just seeing how much inequality there is in some LGBT communities such as in North Carolina with the new law that was passed was very shocking and I’m glad we can do something to stand up against it.’
The “You Can Play” Campaign
‘Being part of You Can Play to me means standing up and being an ally to help change the culture of how the LGBT community is treated and showing them the support they have from athletes everywhere,’ he said.
The You Can Play campaign was established in 2012 and is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes.
The project aims to bring LGBTI athletes and straight allies together to show inclusion can be anyone’s game.
A video produced by the organisation showcases a diverse range of athletes speaking out against homophobia and embracing a message of love.