Denver Broncos Respond To Petition For Team To Produce 'It Gets Better' Video
WASHINGTON -- The Denver Broncos have responded to an online campaign urging the team to make a video for the It Gets Better project, indicating that they won't be jumping on the anti-bullying project anytime soon.
Nearly 8,000 individuals have signed onto a Change.org petition for the Broncos and their high-profile quarterback Tim Tebow to become the first NFL team to create a video for It Gets Better, which was started by sex columnist Dan Savage and his husband in September 2010 in response to the disturbing number of suicides by teenagers who said they were being bullied for being gay or perceived to be gay.
In 2010, Tebow controversially starred in an ad for the right-wing group Focus on the Family, which opposes LGBT rights. In fact, the organization has argued that there "is no evidence that homosexuals, as a class, are discriminated against in the present society."
Petition organizer and Broncos fan Andy Szekeres said an It Gets Better video would help Tebow and the Broncos say, "We may have differences on abortion and gay marriage, but stopping kids from killing themselves is an issue we can all get behind."
But in a statement to The Huffington Post, Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth gave no indication that the team would be participating anytime soon.
"The Denver Broncos are committed to tolerance, acceptance and respect for all in the community," said Smyth. "The National Football League is currently working with USA Network on its 'Characters Unite' campaign combating prejudice and intolerance, and our organization is in full support of that movement to help raise awareness for this very important cause."
Smyth declined to provide a specific comment on It Gets Better.
"I commend the Broncos and all of the NFL for their work on a Characters Unite program to stand up against prejudice and intolerance but that is not enough or the same as standing in support of the It Gets Better Project," responded Szekeres.
"The Broncos have a rare opportunity to make a difference and give hope to thousands of LGBT youth across the country as the first NFL team to make an It Gets Better Video. I think I can speak for the thousands of people who signed this petition when I urge the Broncos to show the country that Colorado and the Broncos stand against bullying LGBT teens and youth," he added. "The Broncos have the chance to lead the league and stand up for one of the country's must vulnerable populations."
"While any effort to confront discrimination should be celebrated, the nearly 8,000 people who've signed this petition are hoping the Broncos will stand up and condemn a particular type of discrimation: anti-LGBT bullying," said Michael Jones, senior organizer at Change.org. "Scores of Major League Baseball teams stepped up to the plate and created 'It Gets Better' videos, yet no NFL team has publicly committed to speaking out against anti-LGBT bullying. That makes this a unique opportunity for the Denver Broncos to listen to their fans, who are urging the team by the thousands to break new ground and become the first pro football team to create an 'It Gets Better' video of their own."