TSN's Aaron Ward explores changing attitudes towards homosexuality in professional sports in the three-part TSN Original feature series ReOrientation, premiering tonight through Friday at 6pm et on SportsCentre.
Powered by SportsCentre, ReOrientation is hosted by the NHL on TSN hockey analyst and 13-year NHL veteran and is directed by Gemini Award-winning TSN Feature Producer Michael Farrell.
"I've spent years focusing primarily on breaking down what happens on the ice, so this series is something of a departure for me, but we believe the issues of homophobia and the culture of sport need to be examined and discussed," said Ward. "We knew the series would reveal some compelling insights, and I know I took away a lot from it personally. I hope viewers will be able to do the same."
ReOrientation takes a sobering look at the pervasive culture of casual homophobia that is common in the locker rooms of professional sports, and reveals the struggles of gay athletes to find acceptance. The series tells the stories of former NFL defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo, who struggled to hide his sexual orientation throughout his nine-year pro football career, and MLS midfielder Robbie Rogers, who in 2013 became the first openly gay man to compete in an elite North American sports league.
Ward also conducts interviews with a several NHL players, including Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference, Los Angeles Kings captain and Stanley Cup champion Dustin Brown, Kings' goalie Ben Scrivens, as well as league commissioner Gary Bettman, in order to examine changing attitudes in NHL locker rooms, as well as the impact made by the NHL's partnership with social advocacy organization You Can Play. With the ongoing controversy over gay rights in Russia causing global scrutiny ahead of the upcoming Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, ReOrientation charts the progress of professional sports culture as it slowly inches ever closer to equality.
ReOrientation will be available for streaming on TSN Digital platforms after each of the series' three parts appears on SportsCentre. Once it airs, you can visit TSN.ca/ReOrientation to watch the series in its entirety, alongside a slate of bonus clips with interview subjects.
ReOrientation appears in every episode of SportsCentre from Wednesday through Friday, with each part premiering in the 6pm et edition.