James Blake Joins Athlete Ally
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - James Blake becomes the third American tennis player to join Athlete Ally as an Ambassador. Blake, a beloved star on the ATP, joins Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish as a vocal supporter of the movement to end homophobia in sports.
Blake learned about Athlete Ally after Fish reached out to engage him in the cause. This kind of connectivity exemplifies the momentum and the peer-to-peer model of the Athlete Ally Ambassador program. In a similar way, we saw NFL veteran Scott Fujita recently inspire former teammates D'Qwell Jackson of the Cleveland Browns, and free agents Eric Barton and Chris Gocong to join the organization.
"We are seeing athletes across all sports take a stand and get their friends and teammates involved because when you love the game you play, you respect it. Joining our movement is a way for true sportsmen to demonstrate their commitment to fair play," said Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally Hudson Taylor. "James Blake has made the United States proud over the years both on the court and off of it and we are confident that his allyship will, in turn, embolden more allies to speak out as well."
Blake, who achieved a career high ranking of number four in the world, said, "I am proud to be affiliated with Athlete Ally because they do exceptional work that can actually make a difference in the sports world and beyond. Inclusion doesn't have to be a political issue, but more a human issue. As a mixed background person, I have been told I could be hated by both sides. I have always tried to look at it the opposite way as a positive that I could be accepted and included. I am extremely lucky and feel that everyone should have the feeling of acceptance."
Blake has racked up ten titles over the course of his career, reaching the semifinals of the Beijing Summer Olympics and the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in 2005-06 and the Australian Open in 2008. He also started a research foundation in support of early cancer detection called The James Blake Foundation.
As an Athlete Ally Ambassador, Blake joins fellow tennis greats Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, NBA star Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), WNBA Player Kristi Toliver (Los Angeles Sparks), an NFL contingent of Brendon Ayanbadejo (Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens,) Chris Kluwe (Oakland Raiders), Scott Fujita (New Orleans Saints), Donte Stallworth (New England Patriots), D'Qwell Jackson (Cleveland Browns), Connor Barwin (Philadelphia Eagles) and free agents Chris Gocong, and Eric Barton, MLS stars Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Stephen McCarthy and Chris Seitz, Dan Grunfeld (Israeli Basketball), Rashad Evans (UFC), 12 Minnesota United FC players, and four Australians in rugby stars David Pocock and James Hilterbrand, Australian Rules Football player Brock McLean, and World-Champion cricketer Alex Blackwell along with scores of college athletes who have already signed on. Blake will act as a liaison between Athlete Ally and the ATP. He will help promote Athlete Ally’s mission to end homophobia in sports by speaking out to his peers, sport and fan base, and encouraging his colleagues to join in the effort.