Major League Soccer kicks up anti-discrimination efforts with new partnership
By By Michael Gold
The Baltimore Sun|
Jun 12, 2013 | 2:32 PM
Now that Major League Soccer has its first openly gay player, the league is launching a new effort to tackle anti-gay attitudes and encourage inclusion in its ranks.
Through a partnership with the You Can Play Project, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting LGBT discrimination in sports, the MLS and MLS Players Union hope to build on existing anti-discrimination efforts to offer greater support for gay players and fans.
"The diversity found in our League has always been a point of pride for us," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement released today. "MLS is committed to providing a safe environment where everyone is treated equally, and with dignity and respect."
In addition to offering education and training programs, You Can Play will offer confidential counseling to players. Outsports also reports that You Can Play will work with MLS on public relations issues.
"This partnership with MLS and the MLS Players Union confirms the message that MLS will not tolerate discrimination of any kind inside the locker rooms, on the field or in the stands," said You Can Play president Patrick Burke.
Major League Soccer has, at least recently, taken an active role in rooting out LGBT discrimination among its players. On several occasions, the league has fined and suspended players for using anti-gay slurs toward other players, taking harsher actions than any of America's other major sports leagues.