On Thin Ice (2021) Movie Script

My great grandfather
came to America in 1923.
He traveled on a
Dutch ocean liner
called the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Cramped in a steerage
with his mother
and younger sister by his side.
I grew up hearing his stories
of success in business,
starting a family
and most of all,
his stories of speed skating.
I intended this film to focus
solely on Jack Brooke's life,
about his struggles
in an unknown land.
It's a tale that fits
neatly in the story books
and history lessons.
The young immigrant escaping
the violence of the old world
for the promises of the new one.
But I've come to realize
that this is a story
about many lives.
It's about more
than any one man.
This is a story about
how we conduct ourselves
and treat each other
not only as athletes,
but also as brothers, sisters,
neighbors and citizens.
This is a story about what
it means to play the game
when the field isn't level.
To find the will to succeed
when the prospects of success
remain so persistently grim.
This is a story about
the fight for fairness,
for acceptance on the
field and off of it.
This isn't the stuff
of Hollywood lore,
my great grandfather
and the men and women
who come after him,
don't die rich.
Sometimes they're
not even remembered,
but they lived real lives.
And their lives, their
story deserves to be told.
Because in the end,
this is a story about us.
Most of his family was
killed in the Holocaust,
but he brought over maybe
about a half a dozen people
that were still alive.
He got them jobs, he helped
them out financially,
he got them apartments, he
always took care of his family.
Speed skating was his
passion, his life passion.
Whenever he found a spare moment
whether in the middle of the day
or in the morning or afternoon,
he would just take the skates
which he always had with him
and just go skating.
The ice meant everything to him,
meeting his wife, meeting...
His medals, it's everything.
It's his whole life is the ice.
My father really worked hard
to become a world
class speed skater.
And it would have been a very
special experience for him
to compete at the Olympics.
Unfortunately, even though
he went to Lake Placid
on the US skating team,
he wasn't able to
skate in the Olympics
because he wasn't a citizen.
Today, I believe he would
have been granted citizenship,
would have been able to
compete in the Olympics.
Jack Brooks wasn't able
to compete in the Olympics
in 1928 or 1932, because
he was an immigrant Jew.
He wasn't a citizen,
so they wouldn't
make him a citizen
based on his natural
gifts as an athlete,
even though he was
qualified and made the team
and beat Olympic champions.
He couldn't do that
because of who he was
and where he came from.
Now, there was another
speed skater at the time,
Irving Jaffee, who was Jewish
but he was an American,
he was a citizen.
Very proud that
he beat the world champion,
Irving Jaffee, in
one of the races,
that was his high
point of his life
that he beat an Olympic star.
That moment
was very special to him.
He proved to himself,
to the Olympic champion
and all of the skaters
that Jack Brooks
was a contender.
I'm sure he would have loved
to been able to step on the ice
at the Olympics and
prove that to the world.
Even though he made
the Olympic team,
he worked his whole life, became
a world-class speed skater,
beat Olympic champions,
it didn't matter.
At the time they didn't
give citizenship to athletes
based on their natural
gifts as an athlete.
Now, today that
happens all the time.
In Sochi, there was
over 120 athletes
that competed for nations
other than their birth nation,
so it happens today.
That was 4% of the 3000
athletes that competed in Soshi.
And it happened again in Rio
and American athletes competed
for other nations as well,
a lot of them.
And it's sad, to think that
Jack if he was around today,
he probably would be able
to compete in the
Olympics definitely.
So, that's a hard
pill to swallow,
knowing what it meant to
him to skate on Olympic ice,
to skate against a competitor
like Irving Jaffee.
And for Jack Brooks
to potentially end up
being the Olympic gold medalist,
the Olympic champion,
it's something that he was
never able to accomplish
something that ate him alive
for the rest of his life.
The Olympics
held a different place
in American society
then in the 1920s and thirties,
as it does today.
It was more captured by a
blue blood establishment
that sort of ran how it was
and they wanted
the Olympics to run
with a certain sort of class.
Also at this time, there's
a tremendous nativism
that's striking up in America.
It had already started
in the twenties
with the limitation on
immigration in 1924.
Partly because of the fear
that many of these Europeans
who were coming over
were likely radical.
Well, you don't want a
radical in sports either,
you want the right type
of person in sports.
You'd have to earn your
citizenship in the normal way,
you'd have to prove
that you are an American
before you could
compete for America.
The first winter
Olympics were held in 1924
in Chamonix, France.
And the star of the
US team that year
was a skater from New
York in Lake Placid
named Charles Jewtraw.
Who was actually the
first gold medalist ever
at a winter Olympics.
He won the 500 meter speed
skating event for the US.
And, he sort of started the
sport to become popular again
in the 1920s in that era.
And he was followed by a
guy named Irving Jaffee,
who was a Jewish speed skater.
Jaffee ended up
winning two gold medals
at the 1932 Olympics.
And he really
popularized the sport
and was the biggest
hero of speed skating
around New York
city in that era.
He was always proud to be a Jew
as far as I understand.
And he contributed to Jewish
causes Lifelong apparently.
What I do know in Lake Placid,
there was overt antisemitism.
Some of the other athletes
were making life
miserable for him.
And they were pouring water
on his mattress to make it wet
so he couldn't sleep at night.
Apparently, they would shine
bright lights in his eyes
when he was trying to sleep.
They were trying to
get him out of there
and not let him compete.
And so he went and spent
the night before the race
with some friends so that
he could get some sleep
and he went back and he won
two races in Lake Placid.
Quite an accomplishment for Jews
and for the Olympics
and for Irving Jaffee.
And I'm proud of that.
I am proud of that.
The games were organized by
a guy named him Godfrey Dewey.
And Dewey ran the
Lake Placid Club.
And he was actually
a rabid anti-Semite.
Now he did not ha-
Allowed Jews to be members
of the Lake Placid Club.
So this was a big
thing for a Jaffee
to go there and win gold
medals right in front of him.
I'm sure Dewey wasn't happy.
When Jews come to America,
they're often seen by
nativists and racists
as being unathletic.
Being Jewish was
regarded as a handicap.
And you had to
overcome that handicap,
in order to succeed you
had to be twice as smart,
twice as tough, twice as
good, twice as strong,
twice as committed,
twice as determined.
And many young Jews
of that generation
who wanted participate
in American society
understood that it wasn't
an even playing field
and they had to be
determined to get ahead.
Jews get involved
in basketball, baseball,
of course boxing, and
they move up the ladder.
But then there's an issue
of do we want Jews to
play for us as Americans?
We've done all
America's asked of us,
we've become Americanized,
we speak the language,
we played the games.
And yet at that point
there's a great deal of
discrimination against Jews
in those arenas, those
arenas of sports.
Irving Jaffee, making
it in speed skating
was also astounding
because speed skating
wasn't supposed
to be an underclass sport.
Speed skating was not
supposed to be something done
by people who grew up in less
than privileged environments
and it wasn't supposed
to be a Jewish sport.
What did happen with Jaffee
was he won his two
gold medals in 1932.
And even though he was
still skating by 1936,
he refused to go to
the Winter Olympics
in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
in Germany,
because it was in Germany
during Hitler's era
and he knew what Hitler
was doing with the Jews,
so he refused to skate.
I'd like to think that
winning an Olympic medal
is a pure endeavor and
to many athletes it is.
Unfortunately it was impure
leading up to the 1936 Olympics,
which were the most
polluted politically ever.
Nazi Germany essentially paid
to have the Olympics
in Berlin in Garmisch.
And anybody who played a role
in what happened
in Nazi Germany,
should have gone away with
their head buried in some hole.
And that didn't happen.
A pre-Holocaust moment
takes place in 1936,
when two outstanding
Jewish runners;
Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller,
are kept off the four
by 100 relay team
because that event in the
Olympic stadium in Berlin
was one of the signature
events in the Olympics.
And it's been said
that the leaders
of the American Olympic
Committee led by Avery Brundage,
didn't want to
embarrass Adolf Hitler
by having Jews stand
on the victory platform
as winners in this race.
Now, everyone knows that Jesse
Owens wins four gold medals.
So why is an African-American
allowed to compete
and a Jew isn't?
Well, it goes to the
root of racial ideology.
Jews are seen as
corruptors, as outsiders.
Jesse Owens is viewed
as an auxiliary,
as a hired hand who's who's
running for white Americans.
Jesse Owens to his credit said,
"Let these guys run,
I've won enough."
This great African-American
athlete Jesse Owens,
won four gold medals, an
unprecedented four gold medals.
And Hitler left the stadium
before the golden medal was
presented to Jesse Owens,
so he wouldn't have to
be seen with blacks,
because blacks were
regarded as inferior.
And after he wins
four gold medals
and he comes back to New York,
there's a victory celebration
at the Waldorf-Astoria
and Owens is allowed to
participate, except for one thing,
he has to go up the
back service elevator
to get to the ballroom.
Community defined situation
through the world of sports.
To me, Jesse Owens, he's
someone who was so courageous,
who competed in such
a time of adversity.
And for him to go out there
and really just be courageous
and stand up for himself and
for a whole group of people,
is just amazing and something
that I feel like we
should never forget.
He paved the way,
not just in sports,
but for life.
So I think that's amazing.
The great athletes who are
African-Americans in our past,
like Jesse Owens, Jackie
Robinson, Muhammad Ali,
who got all the hate being
the discriminated against,
so we like myself and
other African Americans
don't have to be
discriminated against,
don't have to be
called the N word
when we're trying to perform.
Or go to the restroom and
get jumped by white people.
I'm getting a little
emotional right now
actually just thinking about it.
It means a lot for those who
are our founding fathers,
to set those example for us.
Not only for me, but for
all African-Americans
like me and after me.
I think sports is
an incredible conduit
for change in society.
All the amount of propaganda
that Hitler was
putting out there,
was just silenced by this
four Olympic victories
in all gold medals.
It's like you can't get
more definitive than that.
I think it takes merit
to be seen as an equal
on the playing field.
I mean, the numbers don't lie.
I'm not saying it's
just that easy,
racism and sexism and
prejudice have persisted
even in the face of
excellent athletes.
It has to do with the dignity,
with which you carry yourself.
In the state of
Georgia when I was a kid,
the white kid got the favor.
If it's the fighting club,
the white kid was
gonna get the decision.
The fact of the matter
is things like that
happened to me all the time.
I was always getting cheated.
Matter of fact,
the kid be crying
and he got the decision, he won.
But for one thing, he own it,
he don't wanna box no more,
because you would turn him up.
It was like that
for me all the time.
Yeah, not so much
with white people,
it's just discrimination
is just...
The person got more
money than you,
they family came a lot smarter,
they speak a little different.
Discrimination is in so
many different areas.
I was that kid that
got a lot of trouble,
but somehow I was
a good fighter.
I fight good, why
did I fight good?
I trained all the
time, I trained hard,
regardless of how bad it
hurt, I just kept doing that,
I kept doing it and
I kept doing it.
I love the challenge
of working hard
and I love to be successful.
And somehow I...
You can put the fires out.
You know when I'm
sending peeps out.
You will never do it
because you're poor,
you never do it
because you black,
you never do it because
you ain't got no money,
you never get it in it 'cause
you're a father wasn't there.
But life is not by advantage,
it's by, are you gon' do it?
My goal was to make the
Olympic team and I made it.
When they called my
name everybody cheered,
that has been the
thrill of my life.
I'd never ever had
everybody on my side,
but when I fought in
the Olympics I did.
Do sports perpetuate
institutional racism?
Of course they do.
But American business is
built in institutional racism.
Our entire nation was built
in institutional racism
called slavery, that's
an institution, right?
So there is...
And our entire wealth of our
nation was built on slavery.
Our success, quote unquote,
was built on slavery.
The emergence of a nation,
of an independent nation
was built on slavery.
So the institutions of racism
are embedded in our system.
For someone like a Evander,
it seems like maybe it
gave him more strength.
But if I'm sure, for many
kids it deflates the dream
and those kids don't end up
the heavyweight
champion of the world.
Those kids might end
up in the street corner
or might end up in prison
or might end up...
And sadly some of them are dead.
So the fact that Evander
could overcome that
is triumphant, but
doesn't necessarily mean
that it's not happening anymore.
The thing I admire
about Olympic athletes
is the commitment and training.
You have to have such
undying belief in yourself.
An example would
be Aimee Mullins.
Here's someone who has such
belief in her abilities
and her talents as a runner,
that even without
part of her legs,
she persists and
does it with force.
And that's the kind of thing
that requires pure
belief in oneself.
When I think about sport,
I think about in a way
how it's the lost art.
If we look at dance
and cinema and music,
as these kinds of outlets
of creative expression
that impact our society, and
I think sport also does that.
These kinds of facing
your fears and self doubt
or insecurity, testing your
will, testing your endurance,
are things that are
intensely private
and athletes do them
in a very public way.
I think that's why
it's so infectious.
My days of running in the NCAA
and running for Georgetown
were really special for me.
To be the first person in the
world on these Cheetah legs
and to be a teenage
girl and to walk out
and do a track meet
on Saturday morning
with everybody staring at you
and kind of just inviting it.
There's nowhere to hide
when you're wearing those.
And I hadn't realized that
I had ever wanted to hide,
but I think I certainly
didn't wanna be known
as the girl with the legs.
To be a teenager and really
kind of face that head-on,
required a lot of kind of
emotional stamina on my part.
For me, I was born that way.
It just, it came
with the package.
I was such a natural athlete,
I was always very
comfortable in my body,
but the randomness of being
born without fibula bones
was such that...
Yeah, there was a
period in my life
where I really questioned
why it had happened.
You kind of come up
with different things
to comfort yourself.
If you think it's some
kind of divine will,
you're being tested.
My grandmother used to say
that God doesn't give you
anything you can't handle.
The fact that we just don't
know why certain things happen
we have to deal with it.
My only real annoyance
was people who would,
whether it was doctors
or even some teachers,
that would sort of set
the bar really low.
It wasn't like I innately
had something to prove
because I knew I was
capable, really capable.
And it just sort of annoyed me
when people presumed I wasn't.
When I look back at those days
I'm thinking about lining up
in the blocks and doing it
because I wanted to be the
fastest woman on prosthetics
in the world.
I still use it as a touchstone,
I need to remember that
I was able to do that.
Thank you.
10 years after me there
were hundreds and hundreds
of top tier athletes running
with prosthetic legs.
But my experience of
competing when I did,
it felt a lot of
times very lonely.
The best thing I took
out of it was knowing
I had done something that no
one could ever take from me.
And it was a transformation
within myself
that doesn't leave you and
it affects everything you do
for the rest of your life.
Sometimes I still can't
believe that I did it.
It's an extraordinary
feeling to remember
that you were able to
have this crazy dream
ask for help, have the
discipline to follow through
and get there.
And whatever part
my story has played
in the larger narrative of track
and the even larger
narrative of the Olympics
and, then sport,
I'm proud to have a little
line next to my name
that says, world record setting.
To be a woman's speed skater
in kind of the era
that I grew up in,
unfortunately, I didn't
have a lot of other females
that were kind of right at
the same level that I was.
I trained with the boys
and even started racing
against some of the boys.
And that kind of gave me
that fuel for my fire,
so that when I got
to those bigger
international competitions
and would have to go
against those other women
who were top notch
within our sport,
I was ready for those
competitions, physically, mentally,
emotionally, everything
that went with it.
I had some pretty good
friendly rivalries
with two of the guys that
I skated with in my era.
And it really gave me
that great nervous energy
that I really wanted to have
and be ready for it when it
came to those big competitions.
One of the things that I think
it's really important
to also address in this,
is the ways in which the
institution of sports
seeks to masculinize
male athletes
and feminize female athletes.
So we see this in
very random ways.
For instance, when
women's boxing
was being introduced
in the Olympics,
they were required
to or it was proposed
that they were
gonna wear skirts,
something that served
zero utility to the sport.
Both men and women compete
in gymnastics at the floor,
women compete to
music, the men do not.
When you look at figure skating,
the men disproportionately
get judged on athleticism,
the women disproportionately
get judged on artistic merit.
So again, there are
these weird ways
in which this structure of sport
tries to put men in
a masculine bucket
and women in a feminine bucket.
What its all
connected to is this idea
that somehow athleticism,
which for men it's
always been argued,
it gives men a sense of leadership,
of strength, of control,
that women who possess
those same attributes
would challenge men for power,
and you still have
that to this day.
All the boys races, they're
always on on prime time,
the ladies, they have
to go a little bit...
They get showed a
little later at night.
Which I heard from anybody
that watched my races
would email me like,
"We watched the boys,"
they're on on prime time,
"but we had to stay up till
midnight to watch your race."
The boys do attract a
bit bigger of a crowd.
But I do think that any woman
with a strong personality,
which I would say
most women in sports
have a strong personality,
And that's something that I
have to kind of struggle with
in my work life to
make sure that...
To get work done, you do,
you have to be assertive,
see what you want and go
after what you need to get
to make your job successful.
But women aren't always
considered assertive,
sometimes we go
straight to the B word.
When sports became
professionalized and organized
in the late 19th century,
it was something that young
girls were just largely denied.
The main reason why
we have any progress
or could even speak about
progress in women's sports
in any serious way,
is because of the federal
legislation of Title IX.
Like it's not
something that happened
organically from below,
it was something that is
part of the women's movement,
that profoundly changed
the percentages of women
who had access to sports.
So what Title IX did,
is it basically rebaked
part of the cake
or baked a new cake
that's now on the table
with the old sexist cake,
but the old sexist
cake still exists
and they're still
handing out pieces.
So I'm gonna to just give
you some actions to do.
And just do the first
thing that comes to mind.
Show me what it looks
like to run like a girl.
Oh, my hair, oh my God.
Show me what it
looks like to fight like a girl.
Stop, stop.
Now throw like a girl.
My name is Dakota
and I'm 10 years old.
Show me what it
looks like to run like a girl.
Throw like a girl.
Fight like a girl.
What does it mean to you
when I say run like a girl?
It means run fast as you can.
Over the last 100 years
we've made remarkable progress
in closing the gender gap.
Women have been able to
gain the right to vote,
women have been able to gain
the right to an education,
women have entered
the workforce.
Still where we stand
today is not enough.
What we're seeing today
is a renewed momentum.
There's such a clear understanding
that the world's economy
cannot do without
the talents of women,
that the world society
cannot do without the voices
and opinions of women.
There's plenty of research now
that shows that you cannot
underutilize 50% of your talent.
All American, Jeneva McCall,
makes that throw.
And McCall will
take the gold medal.
You have a combination
of the efficiency argument,
which is, your economies
will be more efficient.
And then you've got
the equity argument,
which is, "Hey, it's just fair."
Change is a funny thing,
it goes from the unthinkable,
to the impossible,
to the inevitable,
but you just gotta make
your way through that.
It's great to have your
accomplishments recognized.
And to me, it's a proud moment.
And also really, just...
I hope that it's an
example for younger people
coming up as well, that you
can accomplish these things
and you should strive for them.
Being a minority on any team,
whether it be an Olympics
or world championships,
it really can set you apart.
When I was diving, it was,
it's an individual sport
and everybody's kind
of out for themselves.
I definitely had more
supporters from the women's team
than I had the men's team.
And got a lot of snide comments
of when I was at my first
Olympic games and I was 16.
And all my other teammates
were college graduates
and they were older, I
was still in high school.
So I hung out with
the Soviet divers
'cause they were
closer to my age.
And so then I became
the commie fag.
A lot of the people
in USA diving
knew about my sexual identity.
And then it was always an issue,
we're a small team,
so it was like,
"Okay, who's going in
the room with the fag?"
And, I wasn't a part
of those conversations,
but I learned about it later.
The amount of things
that you hear in a locker room
that are extremely
homophobic, they just scar you
and they slowly chip away at
you and chip away at your soul.
The guys will be sitting next
to you in a full on discussion
on like, "How could
someone even be gay?"
Like how disgusting is that?
"How can someone
love another man?"
So it just makes you believe,
like there's no way that I'd
be accepted in this atmosphere.
So that's why you're so afraid
and you think that
if you do come out,
then you're gonna have
to get away from that.
And that you just...
I mean going back
into locker room,
you think that they'll just
be like walking on eggshells,
everyone would be silent,
that people would be
whispering behind your back.
I mean, those are the fears
that go through your mind
because you hear
that kind of stuff.
And then you do come out
and those are same
guys that support you
and you realize, that they're
not necessarily homophobic,
but it's more of
that pack mentality
where they kind of
feed off each other
and say things that they
think the other wants to hear
and it's a banter
going back and forth.
So, it's really weird,
it was so strange to me
that those people were saying
is that they'll support me
and still a lot of
my best friends.
And they would
send me texts like,
"Oh, you know when I
said certain things,"
please forgive me.
"I didn't mean to hurt
anyone's feelings."
And just to go back to
those times in my mind,
I'm like, it's crazy that you
would say something like that.
But I understand, it's again,
that athlete stereotype
that guys wanna live up to.
Growing up in Texas as a
gay football player, it was...
It had its challenges.
Because football
Thursday, football Friday,
football Saturday,
church on Sunday,
then after church we'd
watch some more football.
It is, that is our
life during the fall.
And it was rough because if
you did not play football
or any type of sport,
people would bully you
or make fun of you.
"Oh, you're not playing sports,
you must be a
sissy or whatever."
And, I had to...
Knowing that I was different,
I had to try to make
myself in a manly position,
I had to play all sports and
do anything that's possible,
people didn't think
that or assumed
that I was a sissy or a gay.
I don't know many people
if they'd know this
about me or not, but sports
pretty much saved my life.
And the reason why is,
I was being bullied to a level,
maybe it wasn't even
bullying, maybe it was just...
I don't know, it was...
I was not...
I did not grow up in
a safe environment
and I was always been
tortured and tormented
by my older brothers.
And they made my life a
living hell growing up.
And sports, pretty much
and especially football,
saved my life.
And without it, I
wouldn't be here today.
I don't know how much
of it was true homophobia
or how much of it was jealousy.
Because I've been in touch
with a lot of the divers
that I used to dive against
and they have no issue
with my sexual identity,
but it was a way to
beat me off the board.
If they can't beat
you on the board,
then they'll try and take
jabs at you off the board.
I was homophobic myself
and repressed that stuff.
And dated girls, had girlfriends
or joining in the banter.
I think as I got older, I
became more and more silent
because I realized
that this is depressing
and that this isn't for me.
But definitely in
my teenage years,
I was part of all that
and tried to live up
to the stereotype.
And I think a lot of gay men do
and that's where a lot
of the shame comes in
for a lot of gay men that
you hear they deal with.
And I think a lot of
gay men deal with that
for the rest of
their lives actually.
Everything you think
that you are is bad,
you're taught that
that's like evil.
So, then when you're
also part of that banter
making jokes about someone
being gay or whatever,
and you're part of
that and you hear that,
it's like, it's the
worst thing in the world.
You can imagine what that
does to your whole body.
So as you get older
and you realize that,
you get, you become more mature
and you realize this
isn't the life for me,
then you have to deal
with all those emotions.
And, you remember all
those experiences.
So again, like when
people say like,
"Why was it so hard
for you to come out?"
and is it...
Why do people have to
even talk about it?
It's like, Oh my gosh, please.
It's the stupidest
question in the world.
We talk about it because
there are no gay athletes.
And there are no gay athletes
because of the amount of
things that are being said
in the locker room
and the atmosphere that athletes
of the world has created.
So it's just really damaging.
I went to college at
University of Missouri,
I played there
from 2009 to 2013.
In 2013, I came
out to my teammates
and we had a successful year.
We had ended up having
a 12 in two record.
Our second year in the SEC,
I was voted a
unanimous All-American
and also SEC defensive
player of the year.
I was...
And during that
time, I was picked
to go in the top three
rounds in the draft.
I came out to the world
in February nine, 2014.
A standout college
football player
may become the first
openly gay player
in the National Football League.
Michael Sam told
interviewer Sunday,
that he is a proud gay man.
Sam is an All-American
defensive lineman
for the University of Missouri
and 2013's SEC defensive
player of the year.
The NFL draft takes place in
may as for Sam's prospects,
every previous SEC
defensive player of the year
has been prominently drafted.
And the day of my announcement,
I instantly dropped
down in the draft.
I wouldn't know how far I
dropped down until draft day.
On draft day I found out
that I dropped down
to the seventh round,
pick 263, I believe.
St. Louis Rams
select Michael Sam.
No SEC defensive player
ever went that low but me.
I got drafted to
the St. Louis Rams.
I ended up having...
Leading that team with Sachs,
one of the top guys
and tackles that year.
I was released at
the end of the camp.
Michael Sam's NFL
dream is over for now.
The first openly gay player
drafted by an NFL team
was cut earlier this afternoon.
And I then
went to Dallas Cowboys
and for the remainder
of that year,
I was with the Dallas Cowboys.
But they too
unfortunately released me
at the end of the year.
When you have a
vision and you have it
and you want
something to get done,
you have to realize there
are gonna be some sacrifices.
I was drafted
as the first openly gay
football player in NFL.
Right now, I'm
currently a free agent.
And it shows that
progress takes time.
The fact that he
was drafted so low,
I do think had to do
with him being gay,
I think a lot of
experts say that.
We've had coaches info...
Seventh round.
Yes, seventh round.
- But see I...
- Hold on, hold on.
We've had coaches on the record
and former coaches say,
"I would not draft him,
I would not have him."
Because he would be
a quote, distraction.
Competing at such a high level
and I had a very long
career and I won a lot,
it's human nature to
root for the underdog
and I was not the underdog.
So there was this whole
beat the fag campaign
at one of the competitions.
And that was really a
motivating factor for me
to prove myself that
I deserve to be there,
that I deserved to do well.
And for me doing well
was usually winning.
I remember that one competition,
I looked down into the crowd
and there was this whole...
I knew so many of
the individuals
who were part of that
beat the fag campaign.
And I looked down into the
audience and another diver
who has always been
quietly supportive of me,
she smiled up at me and
she gave me a thumbs up.
And that was just enough to say,
"Oh my God, I've got
somebody in my corner."
And that is something
that is so valuable.
I'm grateful that I've
been able to share
that story with her, how
important that was to me
at that moment in time.
And I ended up winning
that competition.
When I realized I was gay
and I was playing sports,
I knew I had to either
stop playing the sport
or I need to not be gay.
So I decided to play the sport
and just to completely hide
the other side of me and to...
And even to myself, I
really kept that inside
and didn't talk to
anyone about it.
So, it's a scary place to be
and I think a lot of people
will come to a place in
their life where they decide
one way or the other and
I think that's not right.
When I was 24 years old
and I moved to England,
I was like, "I just... "
I can't do this
anymore, I'm depressed."
Even winning championships
or going to Olympics
or playing for
the national team,
things that I all...
And playing in Europe, all
things I dreamed of doing,
I wasn't quite happy.
And I couldn't quite be myself
around my friends, my family.
And so I just couldn't imagine
my life being like this
for the rest of my life.
I mean, it just felt miserable.
So, I got to a point
where I just decided
that I need to come out and
tell my family at least,
my friends.
And if that meant that I
needed to stop playing soccer,
then I need to
stop playing soccer
and discover myself
away from that.
it just showed
how fearful I was.
'Cause I thought really
that my career was over.
And the public
found out about it,
then I realized that
now it is a possibility.
Because I heard then from so
many people around the world,
like, "Please continue to play."
Like, "I love you
as a soccer player"
and I'll continue
to support you."
And then it was also my
teammates and coaches
that reached out to
me that supported me.
And it made be like,
"Okay, well, if these
guys are gonna support me"
and if they come on and
continue to play with me,
"then I can at least
try to do it."
Even though it was scary.
A few months after I came out
I went back to playing
for the Galaxy,
it was really scary for me.
And I felt like I didn't
wanna let myself down,
my family, my team,
but also I felt a little bit of
I didn't want to let
the LGBT community down.
I was a little
nervous about that,
it was because
there was no other,
there were no other gay men in
sports and especially soccer.
So it was like, I don't know,
if I mess up, am I letting
you this community down?
And finally,
I wanna recognize what Robbie
Rogers of the Galaxy has done
for a lot of people
by blazing a trail
as one of professional sports
first openly gay players.
My guess is that as an athlete,
that Robbie wants to
win first and foremost,
that's what
competition's all about.
But Robbie, you've also
inspired a whole lot of folks
here and around the world
and we are very proud of you.
So, where is Robbie?
When I realized
the impact that it had
on so many people
around the world,
that's when I realized that,
oh my, I can go back and
kick a soccer ball around
and help people.
I'll get messages from
people still once a day
or one every other day,
where someone's like,
"You really like saved my life."
Now, never did I ever
think when I came out
that I would be doing that.
Hopefully there's more
gay athletes that come out
and then younger
men and women see
that they can just be themselves
and they can be out
and doing their thing
and still have success.
Here's Robbie Keane now.
Oh, its lovely.
Robbie Rogers!
Oh, yes!
It's a special night for him,
it's a special night for LA.
And he's waited a long,
long time, Robbie Rogers.
Going back to this trophy,
Cotton Bowl's trophy ceremony
back in February of 2014,
was something really
special to me.
Seeing over 4,000 students
and faculty and just
people in the community
blockade these certain people
who are just full of hate.
Westboro Baptist Church members
are known for their protests
at funerals of fallen soldiers
because they believe God is
punishing the United States
for tolerating homosexuality.
This time the group targeted
openly gay football player,
Michael Sam.
Mizzou sophomores, Kelaney
Lakers and Alix Carruth,
used Facebook to organize
a counter protest.
Hundreds showed up and
created a silent human wall
in solidarity to Sam
and their Mizzou family.
And just seeing that and
showing that so much love for me
and for my community,
it was heartwarming.
And I know no one saw this,
but I was in the booth
and I was just by
myself and I was just...
I knew there was something
special about this school.
And it was...
And I had a little moment
to myself and I had...
I cried a little
bit, but I was just...
I felt loved, I felt loved.
The reason why athletes
have had a hard time
standing up for their beliefs
in professional sports
is twofold.
A, they won't become accepted
and they'll be shunned
by either their peers
and/or their
coaches or whatever.
And then in sponsorship,
corporate America, right?
A lot of times, unfortunately,
an athlete's well-being
is being taken care of by those
types of corporate sponsors.
And sometimes in those
corporate environments
they're specific, very
conservative viewpoints
on how they should
or they should not be
expressing themselves
or conducting themselves
in the professional spotlight.
So, there is a
little bit of game
I think the athlete has to play.
The sports world,
particularly athletes,
are heavily policed
and heavily censored
by the people who run sports.
Because most of them are
actually very right wing.
Most of them are billionaires
who are connected to hedge funds
that are incredibly
hostile unions,
incredibly hostile to any sort
of worker self-organization.
And they do not like the idea
of their workers speaking out
whether it's in an electric
factory in upstate New York,
or whether it's in a sweat
shop in Southeast Asia
or whether it's the athletes
on their basketball team.
And when you couple
that with the ways
in which the media, sports media
traditionally has been
very older, very white,
largely somewhat conservative,
it creates a kind of
three-headed monster of people
telling the young,
disproportionately poor
at least from birth
or disproportionately
people of color,
athletes that they need
to just shut up and play
and be grateful for the
opportunities that they have.
It just shows to this day
like how difficult it is,
especially when anything you do
could get you labeled
a distraction.
And if you're labeled
a distraction,
then your earning potential
and your time in the pros
becomes limited dramatically.
Unfortunately, one of the things
that comes along with a
very corporate environment
aside from big profits,
is that they want it
to be very neutral,
they don't want
to offend anyone.
You don't wanna drive
away any consumers
who might purchase your product.
And so in the case of sports,
it's unfortunate because
a lot of these teams,
a lot of these
entities have this view
that a gay player is going
to bring negative attention
and it will drive people away.
But that's not the case.
People watch your sport
because they wanna watch
someone do something very well.
And yeah, you might
lose some people
who don't agree with
LBGTQ individuals,
who have whatever
their objections are,
but at the same time that
will be offset by other people
who say, "Hey, that's
fantastic, you let anyone play."
It truly is about being
good at the sport.
It is a meritocracy.
And so, if any
corporations are listening,
I would encourage you.
And this is actually true,
they found on Wall Street
and in the banking industry
that there's this huge
push for diversity,
because it makes their
businesses better.
They can appeal
to more customers,
they can make more profits,
they can provide
a better service
because they have these
different viewpoints.
And so the fact, you know that
from a business standpoint,
the facts are diversity is
better for your business.
And so, I would hope
that sports teams
would take a look at
that and follow that lead
and say, "You know",
if we want to have better
athletes out there,
if we want to have
a better product,
then we need to encourage every
athlete to be who they are,
"no matter what that is."
Yo, yo, yo
When people say sports
and politics don't mix,
what they're usually saying,
is that sports and a certain
kind of politics don't mix.
Because they usually
have no problem
with things like
hypernationalism, sexism,
a football team in a certain
city named after a racial slur,
they're fine with
all of that stuff.
What they're not fine with
is athletes using their
hyper-exalted platform
to actually speak
about the world,
that's when you
usually hear people
come down with the, "Keep your
politics out of my sports."
Sports and politics
have always mixed.
The desegregation of
major league baseball
when Jackie Robinson became
the first black player
in major league
baseball was politics.
Even before that,
the Negro leagues
and segregating black
athletes was politics.
Not allowing black players to
play in the NBA was politics.
Not letting black players
play In the NFL was politics.
Jesse Owens and Hitler
refusing to shake his hand
was politics.
Muhammad Ali throwing
his gold medal
from 1960 Olympics
in Rome was politics.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos
raising their black
fist in the air
1968 Olympics in Mexico
city was politics.
I've always felt right that
this the sporting arena
is such a powerful place
to make a statement
about politics,
about social justice.
It's a level playing
field if you will,
in terms of the fans
who watch these sports.
The Republicans and the
Democrats, the independents,
people who hate politics, who
watch basketball and football
and baseball and tennis
and everyone comes
together in one space.
when Eric Garner was killed
and there's a non-indictment
that came out,
we took to the
streets in protests.
And we were trying to figure out
what was the best way for
us to get the message out.
And the royal couple
of the United Kingdom
was on a trip here
visiting our country.
And they were going to...
It was actually a
Nets, Cavaliers game.
And we had LeBron James,
perhaps the biggest star on
the planet playing in Brooklyn.
And we had some connections.
My dear friend, Dream Hampton
who's a phenomenal writer
and activist and thought
leader and a friend of Jay Z,
who has a part...
At that time part
ownership of the team,
we reached out to them and
Dream and then to Jay Z,
and then, "Could we get
t-shirts into the arena"
to get to the Nets?
And then could we
get one to LeBron
"because Jay and LeBron
are good friends?"
And all of a sudden we
were printing t-shirts
at two o'clock in the afternoon.
And by five o'clock,
three hours later,
we were getting t-shirts
across the bridge
as fast as we can.
And ultimately they
got into the arena
and to the players'
locker rooms.
And we had no idea.
We had no idea
what would happen.
I happened to be on
TV that night on CNN.
And I was in the green
room with Russell Simmons
who I was working
for at the time,
who was also going on
television and Eric Garner Jr,
Eric Garner's son was there.
And we had to drive
the t-shirts off
and then all of a
sudden on the news,
there was the pregame
of LeBron James
wearing the, I can't
breathe t-shirt warming up,
making news.
And a remarkable scene
just unfolded moments ago
here in New York, at
tonight's MBA matchup
between the Brooklyn Nets
and the Cleveland Cavaliers,
with the Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge in attendance,
alongside Beyonce and Jay Z.
Calves' star, LeBron James
took the court for the warmups
in this t-shirt bearing the
words, "I can't breathe."
The ast words uttered by Eric
Garner and repeated 11 times
as he was subjected to the
police chokehold and restraint
that caused his death.
So myself and Eric
Garner Jr got into the car
and we went over to Barclays
arena where the Nets play
and stayed outside the
arena and in protest, right?
Of what was happening
in this city.
So, in the past few years
whether it was Trayvon Martin,
whether it was Eric Garner
or whether it was Tamir
Rice, folks are speaking out.
When I spoke out
for LBGTQ rights
and ended up losing
my job for it,
it wasn't so much
courage really,
as more recognizing the fact
that the society I wanna live in
is one where I'm free
to do what I want
and be who I wanna be.
And so in order for that
society to flourish,
when I'm in a position of power,
when I'm in a position
to say something,
then I need to speak up
for those who aren't,
because I'd want them
to do the same for me,
if the positions
were ever reversed.
And so it's almost more of a
kind of a self-serving position
in that you recognize,
if you want the freedom
to live your own life,
you have to make sure everyone
else has that freedom.
Otherwise, if it gets
taken away from one group,
it can just as easily be
taken away from another group.
And so the only way it works
is if everyone has
that same freedom.
Discriminating against
people based on skin color
or based on their gender
or based on their
sexuality is so silly.
Because at the end of
the day it boils down to,
can you help your team win?
Or can you put forward
the performance
that allows you to win?
If you're playing a solo sport.
And I think that people
need to understand that
and that really, from
the athlete perspective.
From those of us that
are playing the game,
we don't care what
you look like.
We don't care what
your sexuality is,
what we care about is can
you score a touchdown for us?
Can you catch that pass?
Can you save a goal?
Can you serve the
ball over the net?
And that's what matters
out on the sporting field.
And so, it's a very...
It's supposed to
be a meritocracy.
It's supposed to be the
ultimate meritocracy
that if you're good
enough to play,
if you're good enough
to reach that level,
that's the only
thing that matters
and it's the only thing
that should matter.
I really hadn't gotten involved
in a lot of stuff
before in the NFL,
because I didn't know
that I could get involved.
It never occurred to me
that this was something
or that there were issues
that I could speak out on,
that I could make
my voice heard.
And really, I didn't think
it was going to become
such a big deal as it became.
It was more, "Okay, I'm
going to help defeat"
"this amendment in Minnesota."
An amendment that would have
banned same-sex marriage
enshrined it in the United
States constitution.
'Cause I was like,
"That's not a great idea."
I think discrimination in the
state constitution is bad.
And so a group approached me
and asked me if I was
willing to help defeat it.
I was like, "Sure."
That, I would love to.
This is an unnecessary
and restrictive amendment
that does not belong in
the state's constitution.
I'm Chris Kluwe, and I'm
urging you to vote no
on the voter
restriction amendment.
Let's punt this thing
back to the legislature.
As athletes, you were focused
on the game so much sometimes
that we forget that we
do have that platform,
that we can make that change.
And, it also comes
down to as athletes
are we willing to
make that change?
Because it's very easy to
just keep your mouth shut
and play the game and say,
"I just wanna be known for
what I do on the field."
And for a lot of guys, there's
nothing wrong with that,
like that's fine.
You just wanna be an
athlete, that's fine,
you just wanna be an athlete,
that's cool, that's
your life to live.
But, if you want to do
something more then you can.
And yeah, it might
come with some risks.
You might face some things
that you otherwise
wouldn't have faced,
but at the same time,
if at the end of the day
you've done something to
help out other people,
then I consider that a win.
Because there are many
things more important
than playing a children's
game for money.
the stable functioning
of society,
it ranks kind of above
that in my opinion.
My name is Hudson Taylor,
I'm the founder and executive
director of Athlete Ally.
And we work to end homophobia
and transphobia in sports
and to educate and activate
athletic communities
to really exercise
their leadership
to champion LGBT equality.
So I was a three time
All-American wrestler
at the University of
Maryland and a theater major.
So I was sort of this
unique breed of athlete
who was in a locker
room every day,
hearing my teammates say
homophobic and sexist things.
And in the theater department
where I had LGBT friends
who were being
valued and respected
and appreciated
for who they were.
And I think that
context made me realize
that that was not what
I wanted with my sport,
of my team or the legacy that
I wanted to leave behind.
So in my senior year in college,
I was ranked number one in the
country in my weight class,
training to win
that national title.
And I realized that my
sort of cultural capital,
my voice as an athlete is
tied to my time as an athlete.
And so I wanted to use that
opportunity to speak out.
And so I started
my senior season
wearing that LGBT equality
sticker on my head gear
to use my platform,
to use my privilege,
to hopefully make a
positive difference.
They want freedom,
they wanna be free.
Whether you're black,
whether you're part of
the LGBTQ community,
whether you're a young woman,
whether you're a young immigrant
or the descendants of immigrants
or the parents of immigrants,
these young people
they wanna be free.
And they're willing
to risk their lives,
they're willing to
risk their bodies,
they're willing to
risk their reputations,
risk their careers
to get that freedom.
And it's hard for us white
people to understand that
because we're already free.
And so we don't get it.
So we don't say, "Why
are they so angry?"
or "Why they lie in the
middle of the road?"
Or "Why do they shut
down my highways?"
I can't get home."
'Cause they don't wanna live
in fear from the police.
And they didn't want to live
in fear of going to school
and being bullied because they
think or they're not sure yet
whether it was the
right time to come out.
They don't want to live in fear
that they might have a
undocumented parent at home,
that parent's gonna be deported
because of bad immigration law.
They wanna live in freedom.
And we don't tell 'em to
shut up, we speak louder.
We raise our voices even louder.
If that means we gotta
go to jail for them,
that means we gotta
go to jail for them,
If that means we gonna lie
in the middle of the street,
means we just lie in
middle of the street.
If that means that you
loose some fans on Twitter,
we lose some fans on Twitter.
We know we on the right
side of history, we know it.
And they know it too.
They just have some
anger in their heart,
they have some pain
somewhere in their life
that prohibits them
from seeing the world
in a compassionate way.
So we don't judge
them, we're not.
We don't wanna
fight against them,
we're fighting for us.
I do feel a responsibility
to promote a message of
inclusiveness and equality,
especially because
of my background.
My family brought me to
the US when I was four,
it was a huge sacrifice
for my parents
to leave Mexico
and come to the US
in search for a better
opportunity for themselves
and also for us.
Sports for me was in a sense,
it was a way out for me.
As a child, you don't
know any better.
You think, you
live in the moment
and you make do
with what you have.
And sometimes as a child,
you don't really think
that you have it bad.
I mean, I was always
a very happy child
and I was...
I think it wasn't until
later that I realized
that maybe that I didn't have
what all the other children had.
So I became a citizen right
after my 18th birthday.
So I hope that it is a very...
That it is a positive message.
And to kind of show
showing inaction
that there are many immigrants
or people from
immigrant backgrounds
that are here to contribute,
that they're not here to take,
that they're here
to give, to help
and they're here to work.
Fear is usually just...
You fear usually the unknown
or what's not common.
But we are all equal.
And the only thing
that does separate us
on that particular
day on race day,
is making sure and have
you done everything
that you were supposed to
do leading up to the race.
And that's it.
The one thing that I'm
really impressed with
is the Canadian Olympic team.
They started this
whole one team program
and that we're all one team.
It doesn't matter race,
religion, sexual orientation,
any of that.
And we also have it in the
IOC Charter in charter six
that Olympism does
not discriminate.
And it does state about
religion, race, sexual identity.
So I think that we've
come a long way,
I think that the athletes
have come a lot further
than the powers that be.
But I feel that they're
beginning to catch up
and be much more open
and much more accepting.
So I think we're in a
really positive path.
As athletes, from
everywhere in the world,
you wanna go at the
Olympics and perform.
For us, the COC, the
Canadian Olympic Committee,
was able to take all
those little things around
that are not performance
stuff away from us,
so we can think only about
going in the Olympics, skate
and get focused to win medals.
Anyone can come, can
go to the Olympics
and they will not have...
They will not be discriminated.
So I think it's
a good thing to...
When the Olympics is there,
you put all those things away
and let the athletes
play and do their best.
This specific culture is
evolving in the United States,
I'm not always accepted internationally.
It's definitely a
sensitive topic.
I'd love for there to be one
kind of global acceptance.
Unfortunately, that's just
not how the world works.
And I think we're moving in
the right direction though.
And I think we've seen,
especially lately,
larger countries who've
had previous political
and specific cultural beliefs,
are starting to really
make the progressive change
towards something
that is positive
and more liberal
and more accepting,
which I think is a
good thing overall.
We're given these moments
and these challenges
as really kind of a
test to our character.
And I think that if you can
go out and draw strength
and be able to overcome
those obstacles,
then you're gonna be stronger
as a person inside and out.
You don't necessarily
really know somebody
until you've walked
in their shoes.
And once you have, I think
you as a person or whoever
would probably understand
why they're there.
Many people don't choose to
be in a certain position,
sometimes things happen.
Whether we like them or not
certain situations just happen.
For the most part,
I think that the Latino
community in the US,
there has been a
lot of progress done
and they're still working
on doing more things.
And I think that the goal here
is to become better,
not only great people,
but great community leaders
or great teachers,
whatever it may be.
And I think that
that's the goal,
that's the goal for all of us
to continue bettering
ourselves in every way.
When I think about
the most memorable
sporting moments,
they are not world series
or Super Bowl games,
they're the moments
where social justice
intersected with sports.
There are those moments when
athletes went above and beyond
all the obstacles
standing in their way
and broke down barriers,
that's when we moved
societies forward.
There is tremendous,
tremendous, progress made
because of the Olympics
in terms of relationships
around the world and sport.
Ping-pong diplomacy, Richard
Nixon going to China.
And my first movie I ever made
was on Cuban baseball in 1999.
And seeing the president
just there last month,
attending a baseball
game with Tampa Bay Rays,
coming together with him
sitting next to Raul Castro
at the front seats
of the front row
of the Havana baseball
stadium, Estadio de Havana.
When you see athletes
can't compete
because of their religion,
whether it's Judaism,
the antisemitism
that was rampant
in the twenties and
thirties and forties
and certainly the Holocaust,
which was a result
of that hatred,
And they continue antisemitism
around the world today.
But you see it around the world
where there's Muslim countries
not allowing their athletes
to play in Olympic games.
Or whether it's corrupt
Olympic committees,
not allowing the
best to compete.
And so some never
get that potential
to be at the best sporting
event in the world.
It's sad.
It's sad and it's a disservice
to the journey we all
are on as human beings.
But when you do see
a Iranian soccer team
playing a US soccer team
and they can shake
hands at the end,
you know we're not enemies,
you know we just have politicians
who wanna position us.
Or you see, as I saw
when I was in Cuba,
Cuban baseball players
and at that time,
the Baltimore Orioles,
American baseball players
playing catch on the field
together, laughing and joking
and slap each other high
five, we're not enemies.
And so sports has been an
incredible place for us
to realize that.
I hope these barriers of entry
on race or class or creed
or color or religion
are consistently knocked down
and continuously knocked down
no matter who you
are in this world
and everywhere you
live in this world.
Because there's great joy and
excitement for me at least
when I see our country compete
against someone who
we're told we don't like.
Or when you see young
Iraqis or young Afghanis
begin to compete in the Olympics
and begin to see a country
that they can be proud of
and wave the flag of which
maybe before they couldn't.
It's a beautiful,
beautiful thing.
Most athletes would tell you,
it doesn't matter
where you come from,
what color your skin
is, what you believe,
who your God is,
you become friends.
And I think it's going through
those sort of experiences
of being an athlete and knowing
that he's training just
as hard as you are,
and you're going through
those same ups and downs,
it makes them
pretty strong bonds.
When I was a skater,
there's was this big thing,
you had the iron curtain,
there's the East Germans
or the Russians.
And I'm gonna tell you, some
of the Russians at that time
were some of my best friends.
I got some of my best friends
who were East Germans.
Those are guys that
I'll still talk to
and I can count on.
I think that's one of the
cool things about sports,
it sort of transcends
all that stuff.
At some point in time in life,
you gonna be them or not.
So you...
The way you treat somebody,
it gon' come back on you.
So either way it go,
it's that vicious
circle that go around.
There's still room to grow
in reaching equality in sports.
I think it's an
ongoing struggle,
but I would definitely say
that there's been progress.
And there's been people
who have been leading
the way in that.
And I hope that a lot
of the athletes now
are just adding to that and
that we can make change.
We live in a day and age
where antisemitism is not
as prevalent as it was
in the early stages of sport,
Jack Brooks, Irving Jaffee.
Individuals who have
had to truly understand
what passion for something
they believe in and want,
overcome and could
overcome anything,
any challenges from an
outside perspective.
I think to go forward,
it's often important
for us to look back
and understand where
the sport has come from,
who were some of
the key players,
who was performing and
what they had to do
to go through those
elements, right?
There's been no triumph
without immense struggle.
There's been no victory
without incredible obstacle.
And stories like that, I
think resonate within myself,
but also for our younger
generation, the next millennials
who are looking to
achieve their own dreams,
hopes and aspirations.
Well, I think what happened
to Jack Brooks was a travesty
to be denied your rightful spot.
It had to be devastating.
And there's no...
I have no way of...
There's nothing in my life
I couldn't even compare
to that type of feeling that
he must have experienced.
That kind of let down,
frustration, anger,
it's just something that I
hope never happens again.
And also something
that we have to give
a certain amount of respect
and acknowledgement,
that we should give more
to the guys who had
to experience this
in order for us to not have to.
Knowing what they went through
is kind of inspiring to me,
'cause I hope that today
we can make a difference
in the sport and
hopefully in culture,
and realizing that if
you have struggles now,
it could make a difference
for generations to come.
Everybody should
have equal access
and opportunity to sports
and really, anything that
they're interested in life.
And whenever that
opportunity is being denied,
whenever an equally positive
experience is being denied,
that is probably one of the
saddest things in the world.
Jack Brooks wasn't able
to compete in the Olympics
because of who he was.
And I can have a little
parallel with him
not competing in the
NFL because of who I am.
And hopefully we can
all be like Jack Brooks
who just stand up for
what they believe in.
I really can't imagine what
Jack Brooks went through,
being denied his
rightful spot to compete.
I feel so blessed not to have
to face anything like that.
And really just grateful
for people like him
who have paved the way,
so that I can be afforded
the privilege to compete.
I can't even pretend
to know what that would be like
to have to go out there
under those conditions.
If people are against you
simply for being who you are.
And I'm a little actually
disappointed sometimes
because I don't think
all our athletes
know the history of our sport.
And it's...
I think it's so important
for any athlete in any sport
to know the history,
to know who...
The ones who were,
that came before.
And why are they there now?
They're there maybe a little
bit because I was there,
but I'm there very much so
because of those
that came before me.
Sports' come a long way,
but we have a lot of
people think for it.
In my great
grandfather's hundred years
on this earth, our world
changed for the better.
Our society became more equal,
our politics more humane,
our sport more inclusive.
But for many that
progress has come slowly,
sometimes not at all.
Athletes still hide in closets.
Others hide from
deportation, discrimination
or marginalization.
Some who are different,
who love differently
or worship differently,
are still sometimes
relegated to the sidelines.
Still cast off as
second stringers.
That's the unfinished
work of this generation,
to build a more just
and more equal world,
one sport and one
athlete at a time.