PRIDE PARADE 2014: FERENCE STEPS UP

Robin Brownlee
June 07 2014 11:21AM

AndrewFerence

It goes without saying, or most certainly should, that people should not be judged based on the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion or their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, we aren't there yet.

That's what makes Andrew Ference's decision to March in Edmonton's Pride Parade in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community (LGBT) today so commendable.

In a world that has yet to fully come to grips with accepting people for who they are, the captain of the Edmonton Oilers is stepping forward as a man who performs in a fraternity that struggles as much or more as any segment of our society with male sexuality.

When a player, Ference, who makes his living playing a tough game against tough men in the NHL chooses to participate in a parade celebrating diversity, it's still newsworthy. One need only type "Edmonton Pride Parade 2014" into Google's search engine to know that – six of the first 10 results I got this morning were in reference to Ference taking part.

It is news. I look forward to the day when it's not.

MAKING A STATEMENT

ference

Even today, acceptance of sexual orientation is far from universal, be it here in Edmonton or anywhere else. Are we making progress? Absolutely, as a 55-year-old man who is old enough to remember a very different era when attitudes toward race, religion and sexual orientation – mine included – were different, I can say that with confidence.

It's also obvious, given the mistreatment of others that still makes headlines on a daily basis somewhere, old attitudes remain today in varying degrees. In my neighborhood. In your neighborhood. Certainly in the culture of the NHL. It is news, then, when Ference takes part, becoming the first member of the Oilers to do so.

Jen Scrivens, wife of Oiler goaltender Ben Scrivens, will march today. Former Oiler Georges Laraque has marched in Montreal. Manny Malhotra and Jason Garrison have marched in Vancouver. In 2011, Sean Avery came out in favor of equal marriage rights in New York. Brian Burke has marched. Burke's son Patrick started the You Can Play initiative in 2012 after brother Brendan died in an automobile accident in 2010.

"Making sure that (LGBT) youth know they have allies at the pro level, or whether it’s a teammate who might be thinking about coming out, or whatever it is, we want to make sure that it’s an accepting environment for everyone," Ference told the Edmonton Journal. "I know most of my teammates and guys around the league line up with the same kind of belief."

LEADING THE WAY

lead-by-example

Yes, most but not all. In that, the NHL is no different than the rest of society. My neighborhood. Your neighborhood. For all of the progress made since I was a kid growing up in the 1960s and 70s, for how we more often embrace our brothers and sisters for what they are rather than what we think they should be, we still have a long way to go.

Players like Andrew Ference will help get us there. That's what leaders do.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 baggedmilk
June 07 2014, 11:22AM
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Well done, Captain Ference.

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#2 Privateeye
June 07 2014, 11:35AM
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And that, ladies and gentleman, is why he is our captain. Very proud that he is a crucial member of this club. Atta be Ference!

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#3 Bucknuck
June 07 2014, 11:44AM
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Great Article, and from what I can tell, the captain is a pretty great man.

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#4 pelhem grenville
June 07 2014, 11:50AM
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...given that Michael Sam came out as the first openly gay football player and subsequently got dropped like a hot potato in the NFL draft...what is your best guess Robin as to when, IF EVER, there will be an openly gay NHL player and do you think he would get the treatment Michael Sam got in the aftermath of such a profound event?

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#5 BlazingSaitls
June 07 2014, 12:01PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...given that Michael Sam came out as the first openly gay football player and subsequently got dropped like a hot potato in the NFL draft...what is your best guess Robin as to when, IF EVER, there will be an openly gay NHL player and do you think he would get the treatment Michael Sam got in the aftermath of such a profound event?

I dont see the need to speculate on these hypotheticals. Andrew Ference generated a postive good news story. It didnt need to be speculated on. As long as these stories keep happening, and leaders like Ference chip away at the negative stigma of being a gay, there is a bright future ahead.

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#6 pelhem grenville
June 07 2014, 12:06PM
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BlazingSaitls wrote:

I dont see the need to speculate on these hypotheticals. Andrew Ference generated a postive good news story. It didnt need to be speculated on. As long as these stories keep happening, and leaders like Ference chip away at the negative stigma of being a gay, there is a bright future ahead.

... actually I wasn't asking for what you thought was needed anywhere...my question was asked of Robin Brownlee so...

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#7 Naky
June 07 2014, 12:07PM
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If a player is good enough, nobody will care what orientation is. Winning is winning. Besides, even if 29 teams take a pass on a good first round type player because he's gay, he'll be drafted at 30 while Calgary sits in the draft. You seem to have forgotten Burke routinely sits in charge of hockey clubs and he's currently with the organization a few hours south of us.

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#8 Robin Brownlee
June 07 2014, 12:20PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

... actually I wasn't asking for what you thought was needed anywhere...my question was asked of Robin Brownlee so...

I'm not convinced Sam was dropped like a hot potato, as you suggest.

Ranked by some to go as high as the fourth round, he went in the seventh. Lots of players after the obvious blue-chippers are selected drop or rise in later rounds.

Sam is on the small side for a defensive end and not quick enough to be a linebacker. He's a longshot regardless of sexual orientation.

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#9 Naky
June 07 2014, 12:24PM
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Wow, someone actually trashed a comment where I said if a player is good enough, he'd get drafted regardless of whether or not he's gay - especially by one team, even if 29 others passed. Guess homophobia isn't going away as fast as we all might like.

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#10 vetinari
June 07 2014, 12:41PM
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Great statement by Ference and by the Oilers. Canada: the place where we don't care who you are in love with so long as you both watch hockey. ;)

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#11 pelhem grenville
June 07 2014, 12:51PM
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...Robin...if one is touted to go in the 4th round of the NFL draft and you go in the 7th, actually 249th out of 256 as a compensatory pick let's NOT call it being dropped like a hot potato...let's forget I ever brought it up...and that question I asked? you don't need to answer that either...I'll just stay here on the bandwagon and say how great it is to have a captain like Ference ...zzz

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#12 ubermiguel
June 07 2014, 12:53PM
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Ference is a great person and Edmonton is a better place for having him here. If the quality of his play matched the quality of his community involvement he'd be a Norris winner every year.

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#13 Racki
June 07 2014, 12:54PM
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I think this is great and it is motivation for me to show my support for the LGBT community. I couldn't go do that this year, but I'd like my wife and I to go next year for this parade. I too look forward to the day when this is not news but I'm proud of Ference and any others that march in cause that doesn't directly involve them.

At my sister-in-law's wedding (to a woman) I learned about how extremely difficult it was for them to come out and how alive they were when they found such support in their families and friends once they did. So for me, this is my way of helping someone else come out of the closet and live the life they are meant to while showing my pride for my sister-in-law and the love they share for each other (they are really a fantastic couple and one to admire).

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#14 ubermiguel
June 07 2014, 01:17PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'm not convinced Sam was dropped like a hot potato, as you suggest.

Ranked by some to go as high as the fourth round, he went in the seventh. Lots of players after the obvious blue-chippers are selected drop or rise in later rounds.

Sam is on the small side for a defensive end and not quick enough to be a linebacker. He's a longshot regardless of sexual orientation.

Sam is 6'3", 255. Guys that size like Lamarr Houston and Rob Ninkovich do fine in a 4-3 defense. SEC Defensive Players of the Year always go in the first round. So it wasn't his football play that dropped him to the 7th round. The Rams got a great deal because other teams didn't want to deal with the locker room culture change and losing their homophobic fans.

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#15 Sevenseven
June 07 2014, 01:39PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'm not convinced Sam was dropped like a hot potato, as you suggest.

Ranked by some to go as high as the fourth round, he went in the seventh. Lots of players after the obvious blue-chippers are selected drop or rise in later rounds.

Sam is on the small side for a defensive end and not quick enough to be a linebacker. He's a longshot regardless of sexual orientation.

I saw a nice picture of Sam celebrating with his boyfriend. It made history because it was the first time anyone celebrated getting drafted by the rams.

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#16 Chris
June 07 2014, 01:55PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...Robin...if one is touted to go in the 4th round of the NFL draft and you go in the 7th, actually 249th out of 256 as a compensatory pick let's NOT call it being dropped like a hot potato...let's forget I ever brought it up...and that question I asked? you don't need to answer that either...I'll just stay here on the bandwagon and say how great it is to have a captain like Ference ...zzz

Maybe Sam dropped because he's not that good as opposed to what his sexual orientation is? How is Robin supposed to know when an NHLer will come out? Stop acting like a baby, he answered your question.

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#17 John
June 07 2014, 02:02PM
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Big deal . Who cares

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#18 Bobby
June 07 2014, 02:22PM
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I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

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#19 Privateeye
June 07 2014, 02:30PM
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John wrote:

Big deal . Who cares

Putin, is that you?

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#20 Racki
June 07 2014, 02:40PM
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Bobby wrote:

I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

Are you OK with being told you who you can't be with, what religion you can't belong to, receive death threats for being who you are etc? If so, sure, go nuts. Although I'm pretty sure no one will make a big deal about your "normal" parade anyways.

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#21 Robin Brownlee
June 07 2014, 02:44PM
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Bobby wrote:

I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

Tell us more.

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#22 Lame Town
June 07 2014, 02:44PM
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@baggedmilk

EDIT BY RB: You're not going to connect sexual preference and relationships between consenting adults to pedophilia here. Not going to happen.

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#23 Matt
June 07 2014, 03:02PM
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I’ve got it. Let’s just say that all unborn humans are homosexual — or at least could be homosexual — and then maybe they’ll also enjoy equal protection under the law. No? Hmmm, but I thought we wanted “liberty and freedom” for all? Oh, it’s all, but not everyone. Or is it everyone but not all? I’m confused.

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#25 Privateeye
June 07 2014, 03:09PM
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Bobby wrote:

I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

Keyboard hero hey. Gotta love em'

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#26 Bobby
June 07 2014, 03:16PM
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Bobby wrote:

I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

It goes without saying, or most certainly should, that people should not be judged based on the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion or their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, we aren't there yet.

Hmmmm

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#27 vvv
June 07 2014, 03:17PM
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Sam just didn't have the skill to play in that league. I don't think a player would get treated like a hot potato if they weren average+ player. For instance when Crosby comes out of the closet I doubt anything will happen to him.

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#28 The Real Scuba Steve
June 07 2014, 03:23PM
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That show's a lot class from our captain coming from an organization that lost pretty much all it's class.

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#29 Walter Sobchak
June 07 2014, 03:38PM
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No offence RB, and good article.

In this day and age, why is this still news?

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#33 Racki
June 07 2014, 04:11PM
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"Zuboora 209.89.100.65 Honestly I am so sick of the gay agenda being shoved down my throat every I look. I don't care about the Pride Parade . . ."

This one made me laugh.. "OMG, there's gay people everywhere, and they're shoving things down my throat!"

I don't think I've ever really encountered anything in my day-to-day life that made me think "whoa, tone it down, gay people!". I actually very rarely even see anyone gay (well, that I know), or any sort of messages from gay people. Does this guy live next door to Elton John or something?

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#34 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
June 07 2014, 04:30PM
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Gay. Straight. I don't care.

You're nice to me, I'm nice back.

No room for Haters.

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#35 baggedmilk
June 07 2014, 04:42PM
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Go figure, an article about the acceptance of others turns into a gong show from a few small minded dickheads.

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#36 george99
June 07 2014, 04:43PM
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Congrats to Andrew Ferrence for stepping up and being a positive role model in our community. Ideally it would be nice to have a representative from each of our sports teams partake. Cheers :)

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#37 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
June 07 2014, 04:44PM
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Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate wrote:

Gay. Straight. I don't care.

You're nice to me, I'm nice back.

No room for Haters.

So simple... Best haiku ever

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#38 Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!
June 07 2014, 04:50PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Go figure, an article about the acceptance of others turns into a gong show from a few small minded dickheads.

Is it really though? 2 losers posting under 6 names, and 20+ people showing appreciation for Ference and the gesture. I guess 1 more person asking about how gays fit into hockey/draft; politics/beliefs unclear. Still, Pretty good IMHO and a lot more support than hate.

Btw, Is it still ok to discriminate against flames fans?

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#39 baggedmilk
June 07 2014, 04:55PM
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@Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe!

I mostly agree with you. But you haven't seen all the comments that got picked up by the filters. On the whole, most people been great - its just a few guys with less chromosomes than the rest of us, ya know what I mean?

The Flames are always acceptable to hate.

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#40 BlazingSaitls
June 07 2014, 05:00PM
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Im going to be a kind of "Dick Butkus" here but this article and its comments really impressed me.('cept those few hateful people) For the most part Oilers fans seem a classy bunch just like Cpt. Ference.

Ive recently perused the other sites, Flamenations, Leafsnation, Canucks Army, and Jetsnation and those sites seem like a wasteland in comparison to Oilersnation.

Im relatively new to this site but it quickly grew into one of my fav's. Thx for the consistent and fresh write ups by all the authors/bloggers and thanks to the many die hard Oilers fans who comment regularly. Ive learned a lot.

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#41 Racki
June 07 2014, 05:10PM
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Oilers need Ogie Ogilthorpe! wrote:

So simple... Best haiku ever

Agree, that's hilarious

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#42 M22
June 07 2014, 05:21PM
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Bobby wrote:

I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

If this is about linens, count me in! Damned Bed, Bath & Beyond; always shoving those patterned and colored sheets down our throats.

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#43 Red
June 07 2014, 05:24PM
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Bobby wrote:

I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

Wow. This guy actually exists.

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#44 bazmagoo
June 07 2014, 05:42PM
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Of all the issues facing the Oilers, Ference as captain is not one of them. The man is a true role model and leader.

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#45 Walter White
June 07 2014, 05:47PM
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Wow....so this is the kind of stuff you start talking about when your team sucks for 8 straight years.........there is another draft party to be had in a few weeks you know!!!!

WW

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#47 baggedmilk
June 07 2014, 05:54PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

We'll have another item about trading Sam Gagner/who the Oilers should draft/why Bucky must go/reasons Lowe should be fired/trading fringe prospects for a No. 1 defenseman soon.

If that won't do, you can inquire with baggedmilk about getting a refund on your subscription.

I'll actually be writing about the draft party tomorrow! If there's time between Gagner/Bucky/Draft articles, of course.

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#48 pelhem grenville
June 07 2014, 06:02PM
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...draft Leon Draisaitl

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#49 Walter White
June 07 2014, 06:06PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

We'll have another item about trading Sam Gagner/who the Oilers should draft/why Bucky must go/reasons Lowe should be fired/trading fringe prospects for a No. 1 defenseman soon.

If that won't do, you can inquire with baggedmilk about getting a refund on your subscription.

Has anyone ever told you that you are one hell of a sexy specimen Robin Brownle, that goatee is adorable!

May be we can go on a date...........I mean for a beer sometime!

That Baggedmilk is quite the handsome devil as we'll! Maybe he can join us!!!

WW

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#50 ThatButthurtOilersFan
June 07 2014, 06:19PM
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Bobby wrote:

I would like to have a white parade is everyone okay with that?

No.

Comments are closed for this article.