‘You Can Play’ campaign reaching high expectations

(Graphic by Adele Palmquist)

(Graphic by Adele Palmquist)

Times are changing. And I like it.

There’s no question that there has been a rising trend focusing on the commitment to diversity and inclusion in sport. The NHL made the big leap a while back partnering with the You Can Play project, and Wednesday, another major sports league joined them.

Major League Soccer, or MLS, announced Wednesday their partnership with You Can Play, which will continue their long-standing commitment. The MLS was always very pro-diversity, however partnering with You Can Play will help with existing anti-discrimination education and training resources, as well as giving players the ability to seek counseling or ask questions confidentially.

This is huge.

Sport is the one place where sex, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation should not matter. If you have skill, if you have drive, you can play.

The You Can Play project proves just that. And to have another major league joining their campaign? Huge. Just huge.

It was big in the winter, when I saw universities and colleges in Canada jumping on, giving promotions online with the You Can Play campaign.

My favourite? The University of Ottawa. Their athletics department got a bunch of their varsity athletes together to do a bilingual plea to allow equality in sport. They got coaches and administration involved as well. For such a close university to Waterloo, this is a big deal.

“If you win a championship, you’re on the team.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpXHuzlNPmM

It frustrates me that sexual orientation is still such a big issue in sport and athletics. Whenever I stepped onto the field, the ice, the pitch or the court, nothing mattered except for my talent and skill and whether I was good enough to win the game.

So why is it still such an issue?

I completely and entirely support You Can Play and give my entire appreciation to the MLS for creating a partnership. This will further the urgency for equality and diversity in athletics and give not only up-and-coming university athletes the comfort of being able to excel, but also professional athletes who are on their way.

I see the future and it’s bright, but I still see how much work has to be done in the world of sport in order for it to be truly inclusive. But the MLS made a big jump, and it’s a big move. And it’s good.

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