The Denver Broncos like making videos. There were the ones that former team employee Steve Scarnecchia filmed last year of a San Francisco 49ers practice in London; those wound up costing the team and former head coach Josh McDaniels $50,000 each in fines. Then there were the slightly more upbeat videos that the team made of every candidate who came to town in January to interview for the head coaching job after McDaniels was fired; those videos were part of the team's effort to repair its reputation with fans. And now a Denver man would like the Broncos to make another video.
Andy Szekeres, a partner in the political consulting and fundraising firm 3PG, has started a petition at www.change.org, asking the team to make a video supporting the It Gets Better campaign. That effort was created by sex advice columnist Dan Savage (see his latest on page 77) in response to a string of suicides by gay teenagers in 2010 — some of them the result of bullying. Since then, thousands of It Gets Better spots have been posted on YouTube, including videos by President Barack Obama, Anne Hathaway, Ke$ha and Stephen Colbert.
It Gets Better
The Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants have all made It Gets Better videos, and Szekeres would like the Broncos to follow suit. "When I realized that none of the local professional teams had made an It Gets Better video, I thought that with the start of the football season, it would be a great time to do it," he says. "There is a lot of homophobia in sports, and very few athletes have come out. Usually they do it after they retire because they are afraid of getting hurt."
No one from the Broncos organization has responded to Westword's requests for a comment, and Szekeres says he hasn't actually approached the team himself because he's hoping that a public campaign will convince the Broncos to make a video. So far, about 100 people have signed the online petition; Szekeres hopes to have a thousand names by the time the Broncos meet those big bullies, the Oakland Raiders, on September 12. After all, he points out, the meaning of this campaign could be twofold for the team.
"The Broncos were 4-12 last season," he says, "so maybe they could use It Gets Better to talk about their record, too."
Szekeres isn't the only one to create an online petition at change.org; there are similar efforts under way for all of Denver's major sports teams. In fact, anyone can create a petition for just about anything on the website. Our favorite is Tell Us What Is Going On Underneath Denver International Airport — which, as most people know, is a hotbed for extraterrestrial and/or secret government activity.
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That DIA petition has four signatures.
Cool for school: Last week, a group of parents began a petition drive (also available on change.org!) to convince Denver Public Schools to start the school year later to avoid the heat that can melt students to their seats in late August. "We understand the pressures for higher test scores create a desire for more preparation time," it reads. "But a comfortable learning environment should be an important consideration. Are we getting much out of this advanced start time? Hot and thirsty children do not learn particularly well. We urge the DPS Board of Education and Superintendent Tom Boasberg to change DPS's start date in order for the academic year to begin after Labor Day."
Boasberg responded with a letter saying that recent surveys had shown most teachers were opposed to the idea of a later start, but that he would consider it. "In the meantime, we are working hard with our facilities group at providing whatever relief we can in our classrooms and keeping our fingers crossed for next week," he wrote.
But the parents behind Too Darn Hot to Learn don't plan to give up. And the temperatures in some Denver schools — few of which have air-conditioning — last week would have made even the iciest school-system bureaucrat break into a sweat.