The Toronto Raptors will host the NBA’s first You Can Play Night on Jan. 17 to promote LGBTQ equality, respect, and inclusion, the team announced Friday.
“The Toronto Raptors are honoured to welcome fans to Air Canada Centre for the first You Can Play night,” team president Masai Ujiri said in a release. “As an organization, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment prides itself on the values of diversity, equality and inclusion and we look forward to being a part of history, together with our passionate fans and the city of Toronto.”
The Raptors will promote inclusion in the basketball community and sports at large in a number of ways throughout the night. Rainbow flags will be integrated into the national anthems and pregame ceremonies, members of the You Can Play organization will be hosted, and Egale Youth OUTreach, a local LGBTQ team, will be in attendance. There will also be in-game recognition of the organization, awareness-building messages, and a public service announcement involving Toronto Raptors players.
$5 from each ticket purchased using the code YCPRAPS18 will also be donated to You Can Play, and toques will be given to the first 250 to purchase, as well as sold at the team store.
“You Can Play is honoured to be a part of this special evening, and so appreciative of the support of the Raptors and the entire Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment family,” You Can Play’s executive director, Ryan Pettengill said. “The Raptors are clearly committed to promoting inclusion and safety in sport, and You Can Play is proud to be included in that effort.”
You can find out more about the You Can Play project here. The organization works to ensure safety and inclusion in sport for everyone, including LGBTQ athletes, coaches, and fans.
This is a really cool initiative on the part of the Raptors and You Can Play.