Nashville is one of eight television markets that will see a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) ad promoting good sportsmanship that will air just before the USA cable network broadcast “Ring of Fire”, a story based on actual events about a boxing champion who struggled with his sexual orientation.
The movie will air on Comcast cable channel 24, on Wednesday April 20 beginning at 7:45 p.m. It will be presented commercial free by SAAB.
The commercial will air once, between 7:45 and 8 p.m., explained Jay Smith Brown, senior communications manager for HRC. Brown said Nashville was selected because of its size and location.
“We targeted some smaller to medium-sized cities because we wanted to start dialogue in places where — unlike Los Angeles and New York — messages about sports and GLBT athletes have not been widely publicized,” Brown said.
In addition to Nashville, the ad will will be broadcast in Atlanta, Birmingham, Denver, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Topeka and Washington, D.C.
The ad includes images and names of openly gay professional athletes Billy Bean of MLB, Rosie Jones of the LPGA and Esera Tuaolo of the NFL. The ad promotes “level playing fields” for all Americans, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes.
“Good sportsmanship means letting everyone have an equal shot at competing openly and honestly,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “For GLBT athletes, that opportunity often involves extra hurdles of discrimination, and it is time that we level that playing field.”
Last week, Sports Illustrated released a poll showing that 86 percent of Americans think that openly gay athletes should not be excluded from team sports. However, the poll went on to say that 68 percent of respondents think it hurts an athlete’s career to be openly gay.
“Our hope is that this ad will reach America’s GLBT youth, who may feel alone and unwelcome so that they will know that they are welcome and deserving on all playing fields, just like anyone else,” said Solmonese. “From professional competition to playground baseball games, everyone competes at a higher level and goes further when all athletes are allowed an equal chance to play.”
To view the ad online, please visit www.hrc.org.