[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Major League Soccer and the Major League Soccer Players Union announced a partnership with the You Can Play Project, demonstrating the League’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion of all athletes without regard to sexual orientation.
“The diversity found in our League has always been a point of pride for us,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garberin a statement. “Our MLS WORKS ‘Don’t Cross the Line’ initiative is a strong statement that we are a league that stands against discrimination. We are proud to partner with You Can Play to ensure that all of our fans and players know that MLS is committed to providing a safe environment where everyone is treated equally, and with dignity and respect.”
Robbie Rogersrecently signed with the LA Galaxy and became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a major U.S. professional league.
“The MLS Players Union is proud to formalize a partnership with You Can Play,” said MLS Players Union executive director Bob Foose. “Our players strongly believe that, as the world’s most popular game, soccer should be open to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. We as a union are committed to expanding our outreach to ensure that all players and fans feel welcome in MLS as we continue to expand our dedicated and diverse fan base.”
You Can Play will build upon MLS’ existing anti-discrimination education and training resources, and players will have the ability to seek counseling or ask questions confidentially, providing professional athletes with a resource that is often lacking.
The organization was founded by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke in memory of Brendan Burke, his brother and the son of former NHL general manager Brian Burke. Brendan Burke revealed he was gay to his family in 2007 and died in a car accident three years later.