Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and former teammates Chris Gocong and Eric Barton have become ambassadors for Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to ending homophobia in sports, the trio announced via press release on Friday.
Per the release, the addition of these three new Athlete Ally Ambassadors is part of an ongoing effort to empower professional athletes to help make sports a welcoming environment for all. Former Browns linebacker and Athlete Ally Ambassador Scott Fujita directly helped grow the movement in Cleveland with these new additions.
“I believe that everyone should be treated the same,” said Jackson. “That’s my thought as a person and as a teammate. Joining Athlete Ally is my way of letting it be known that I would respect any teammate – gay or straight – it just doesn’t matter.”
Chris Gocong, a member of the Browns for the past two seasons prior to being released earlier this spring, added that Fujita was a “pioneer” in the movement to create an inclusive environment in the NFL. ”I feel it is my duty to help continue that work as the league moves from tolerance to acceptance,” he said. ”I want to support any athlete to feel more comfortable and confident being himself.”
As Athlete Ally Ambassadors, Jackson, Gocong, and Barton join the NFL contingent of Fujita, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Donte Stallworth, and Connor Barwin, as well as tennis greats Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, NBA star Kenneth Faried.
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