Head football coach at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has spoken out in support of gay sports players.
Coach Jim Mora has appeared in a video filmed by the You Can Play project to raise awareness of changing attitudes to LGBT players in sport. The project’s simple message for gay sportspeople is ‘If you can play, you can play.’
Speaking to Outsports, Mora stated an athlete coming out on his football team and in other sports would be well received. He said: ‘It doesn’t matter to me.
‘I don’t judge people on their color of skin, their sexual orientation, their religious beliefs. UCLA is a very tolerant campus for all different beliefs.’
The You Can Play project was formed in March 2012 with the aim to eradicate homophobia in sport.
Its website states: ‘There’s an assumption in sports that gay and lesbian players are shunned by all athletes.
‘It’s just not true, and You Can Play is dedicated to providing positive messages from athletes, coaches and fans.’
Mora’s appearance comes at a time when more and more major sports figures are voicing their support of gay athletes.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander told CNN that he would not have a problem with accepting an openly gay teammate.
In March, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin told USA Today he would provide support to any player who came out as gay on his team. He said: ‘As a heterosexual man, I can’t speak to what it must feel like to be gay in the NFL [National Football League] I imagine its very hard to go through. So I would support that teammate no matter what.’