UCLA Bruins coach Jim Mora is the first major college football coach to openly endorse the fact that gay players are welcome on his football team in a new video released by the school. According to Yahoo! Sports, several schools have released “You Can Play” videos recently, basically stating that anyone who has the ability should be given the chance to play. However, Mora is the first football coach to appear on his school’s tape.
At about the 20-second mark, Mora says: “At UCLA, we play with integrity and we honor diversity. We respect all athletes and coaches. If you can play, you can play. And if you can coach, you can coach.”
When asked about it by OutSports.com, Mora did not back off of his support for any athlete, whether they be black, white, purple, orange, gay or straight.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Mora said. “I don’t judge people on their color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religious beliefs. It doesn’t matter to me. …
“I talk to these kids about everything,” Mora said. “There’s nothing that’s off-topic. But I haven’t seen the opportunity yet. Maybe I need to be more observant. Maybe there are things being said that I don’t hear. It’s not that I’m afraid to talk about it or don’t want to, it’s just I haven’t felt compelled to yet.”
Currently, there are no openly gay football players in the NFL or in the collegiate ranks. Thus, while history has not been made yet in a player deciding to come out while still lacing them up, this is a huge step in the right direction.
Because UCLA is correct: If someone can play, they should be given the chance, no matter what. As a society, this is something we should have learned long ago.