Fourth Australian Pro Joins Athlete Ally: James Hilterbrand to Carry Mission in Rugby
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Athlete Ally, a leading organization working to raise awareness and end homophobia in sports, is pleased to announce that yet another Australian rugby player, James Hilterbrand, has joined the organization as an Athlete Ally Ambassador.
Hilterbrand becomes the second Australian rugby player and fourth professional athlete from "down under" to officially join the movement. James is an outstanding athlete and plays for the Western Force Extended Playing Squad.
"Whether you're stepping onto the field, into the locker room or behind the mic for a press conference, no athlete should feel disadvantaged because of his or her sexual orientation," said Hilterbrand. "That’s why we need to make sure our LGBT brothers and sisters get the respect they deserve. The rules are the same in sport for everyone, why should life be any different? It doesn’t matter who you hold hands with, just how hard you work," he said.
"The response from the international community has been really incredible, and with James as another catalyst abroad, the movement is gaining so much momentum, especially in Australia," says Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. "With fellow Aussie rugby star David Pocock joining our organization, we now have two Australian rugby players standing up as Athlete Ally Ambassadors. Rugby culture in Australia, much like football culture in the U.S., is shifting towards open acceptance of LGBT players and fans."
Sean Avery, former New York Rangers star and current member of the Athlete Ally Board of Directors, added: "Yet another international voice means more people around the world engaging in the discussion about equality for the LGBT community in sports. The more progressive young voices Athlete Ally harnesses, the more up-and-coming generations will learn that LGBT people deserve the respect of the athletic community."
As an Athlete Ally, Hilterbrand joins Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Brendon Ayanbadejo (Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens), Chris Kluwe (Minnesota Vikings), Scott Fujita (Cleveland Browns), Connor Barwin (Houston Texans), professional basketball player Dan Grunfeld, fellow Australian rugby star David Pocock, Australian Rules Football player Brock McLean, world champion cricketer Alex Blackwell and scores of college athletes who have already signed on. James will act as a liaison between the organization and his league, help promote Athlete Ally’s mission to end homophobia in sports by speaking out to his team, league and fan base, and encouraging his colleagues to join in the effort.