I think the NFL's new initiative to support gay athletes is fantastic and hopefully the NFL, NBA, MLB, and other professional sports organizations will follow suite. By supporting gay rights publicly, athletes who who are currently playing for the NHL will feel more comfortable coming out. That would in turn remove some of the stigma currently surrounding gay athletes.
Yes, I think that the NHL's new initiative in support of gay athletes is a step in the right direction for pro sports. Gay athletes need support in coming out and just being who they are. Gay athletes can provide motivation and inspiration for other people who are like them, but afraid of what people may think of them if they come out.
In America today, there are many talented people. A person should not have to watch a sport because of sexual orientation. The gay community is no different than any other community, as they support each other; help their fellow man in times of need; and have the same difficulties in life that we all do. Why should they be asked to not participate, and possibly be paid millions of dollars, for going to work, and being American citizens. The NHL is doing the right thing.
At the end of the day it comes down to the players having to destroy the stigma around them. If a league, owner and coach are okay with gay people, they still can't sign a gay player if there's players in their locker room that will have a problem with it. It'll affect team performance negatively. This is a good start but EVERBODY needs to get with the century for it to have any lasting value.
NHL's new initiative in support of gay athletes sounds like a good step towards a rewarding goal. People should not feel like they have to hide the fact they are gay just because they want to participate in a sport. That would be unfair to do to them and the team if they are great player.