Thank goodness there are some professional athletes who aren't afraid to be LGBTQ allies. Ranger's player Sean Avery has taken a stand for marriage equality in this HRC ad:
I know we're not all pro-HRC, and I know there are many people who think focusing on same sex marriage is not the fight gay people should be fighting, but regardless, this is a step in the right direction. Americans of every stripe follow the N.H.L, the N.B.A, the N.F.L., etc., and to their fans, professional athletes symbolize power, strength and masculinity. Once you get people's heroes talking about why LGBT equality matters, you get their fans thinking and talking about it too. Gears turn. Cognitive dissonance is had. Hard-wired attitudes start shifting.
The cynic in me wants to delve into the related issues of homophobia in women's sports and the lack of out and proud professional athletes (especially men). But for now, I'll just appreciate pro athlete allies like Sean Avery. (See this NYT article on it for more.)