Luke Prokop, an N.H.L. Prospect, Announces He’s Gay
Luke Prokop, 19, a prospect with the Nashville Predators, on Monday became the first player with an NHL contract to publicly announce that he is gay.
Prokop, from Edmonton, Alta., Made the announcement in an Instagram post, writing, “From a young age I dreamed of being an NHL player, and I believe in living my authentic life. will allow me to develop myself completely. the rink and improve my chances of achieving my dreams.
Third-round selection by the Predators in the 2020 NHL Draft, Prokop wrote, “While the past year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self. I’m no longer afraid to hide who I am. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.
Last month, Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, became the first active NFL player to declare himself gay. Prokop’s announcement comes at a time of growing acceptance and inclusion in international sports. At least 142 LGBTQ Olympians have been selected for the Tokyo Games which kick off on Friday, more than double the number of those who participated in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to Outsports.com.
The first known transgender female athlete who qualified to compete is Laurel Hubbard, a New Zealand weightlifter.
“The rise of social media, especially Instagram, has given athletes a forum where they can live their lives openly and relate directly to their followers,” Outsports wrote last week.
Prokop said he hoped his statement would show others that gay players are welcome in hockey. No active NHL player has ever turned out to be gay.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thanked Prokop in a statement “for sharing his truth and being so brave.”
Bettman said, “I share his hope that these announcements may become more common in the hockey community. LGBTQ players, coaches and staff can only perform at their best if they live their lives fully and truly. We do not take the meaning and importance of this announcement lightly.
Don Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players Union, said in a report: “We know the NHL hockey community will support Luke as he strives to achieve his goal of playing in the NHL, and we applaud the example he sets for hockey players and beyond .
The Predators said in a statement the club are “proud of Luke for the courage he shows in coming out today, and we will stand behind him unequivocally in the days, weeks and years to come as he continues. to develop as a prospect. “
Prokop told ESPN he struggled to play last season for Calgary in the Western Hockey League and believes going out will put him at peace and allow him to play at the highest level. He said he made his decision in April.
“I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and was extremely frustrated because I couldn’t be my real, authentic self,” Prokop told ESPN . “At that point, I said, ‘Enough is enough. I accept who I am. I want to live as I want and I want to accept myself as a gay man. ‘”
In his Instagram post, Prokop wrote, “I may be new to the community, but I can’t wait to learn more about the strong and resilient people who came before me and who paved the way for me to be more comfortable today. “
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