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You Can Play - Duke University

Now we know how some of Duke University’s student-athletes and coaches spent part of their summer vacations – prepping a large-scale campaign, including a You Can Play video to ensure safe spaces and equal treatment for all athletes including their LGBT teammates.

Risa Isard and John McGinty approached the You Can Play project in May about making a video that would support Duke’s athletes and the school’s LGBTQ and ally communities. As the women’s and men’s basketball team managers, they saw a chance to build a team of players, coaches and administrators who would stand up for all athletes, regardless of their sexuality. Duke’s You Can Play roster provides an amazing cross section of athletes representing a huge variety of sports. Duke’s director for student-athlete development, Leslie Barnes, coordinated the video and athletic director Kevin White clearly states what is at the heart of the You Can Play Project: “Teamwork and excellence extend far beyond sexual orientation.”

Appearing in the video are women’s basketball head coach Joanne P. McCallie, women’s basketball center Elizabeth Williams, basketball forward Josh Hairston, track and field athlete Curtis Beach, men’s golfer Yaroslav Merkulov, field hockey head coach Pam Bustin, men’s soccer head coach John Kerr, volleyball head coach Jolene Nagel, volleyball player Nailah Waterfield, wrestling head coach Glen Lanham, academic coordinator Brian Anderson, swimming and diving assistant coach Dawn Kane, assistant sports information director Meredith Rieder, athletic department chief financial officer Mitch Moser, associate athletic director of compliance Cindy Hartmann, field hockey goalie Lauren Blazing, wrestler Immanuel Kerr-Brown, football running back Juwan Thompson, football defensive end Dezmond Johnson, tennis player Hannah Mar, track and field senior Cydney Ross, track and field pole vaulter Amy Fryt, volleyball player Brittney Balser, rower Elizabeth Howell and baseball pitcher Chase Bebout.