Former Major League Lacrosse Star and Youth Advocate Brett Hughes Joins Athlete Ally

Brett Hughes is a former collegiate and professional lacrosse player. During his time at the University of Virginia, he started every game in his four years, and was an NCAA and ACC Champion team captain and a two-time All American and All-ACC selection. Professionally, he was an MLL All Star, team MVP and developed Lacrosse the Nations, a nonprofit that seeks to unify the lacrosse community to sustainably improve education and health while creating joy and opportunity for children in need. 

Q: Why did you decide to become a vocal LGBTQ ally?

A: I am not sure it was a decision that came about abruptly. I have never been one to judge anyone on anything really. It was more than I started to see a platform develop to discuss characteristics of the sports community that need massive progress and this is at the top of the list. I am guilty in the past of saying things that need to be brought to the forefront as I believe by in large the sports community is just under educated in this way, not that we are incapable of this progress.

Q: Have you seen the climate improve for LGBTQ lacrosse players since your time playing?

A: I can’t say specifically lacrosse, but across all sports I believe real progress is just now starting. Lacrosse, like all sports needs to shift it in high gear with the understanding and outward acceptance of LGBTQ but I would not say its more or less than any other sport.

Q: Do you think professional athletes stepping forward as vocal allies is still important today, even with more athletes coming out as gay?

A: I think that it is of the utmost importance. I would not be involved if I thought I could not help in some way shape or form. I believe the the voice of acceptance and love is far more than the opposite. But like so many social issues the voice of hate, even if led by a few sometimes takes the majority of press. Athlete Ally is helping create that louder voice and allow all to join in on something we all know is right.

Q: What inspired you to step out on your own and use lacrosse to create social change/do good for others?

A: Sports have been the catalyst for so much in my life. It has helped me get an education, travel, meet new people, and enjoy some success on the field. But off the field it has done far more, my trips to Nicaragua to give the sport away to those in need and create a conduit for resources to those children has taught em the power of sport. We owe it to the sports we love, respect, and honor to stand up with whatever platform they provide to design a new future of acceptance and appreciation of all our differences. Sports has allowed me to get to know so many different people that I have come to love for their differences on/off the field while enjoying this great common love on the field. People far smarter than I have warned us to not be one that takes takes takes, that giving is a far greater reward than the reward itself. I feel honored to have this chance to stand up for something that is part of my life on a family, athletic, and social level.