By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com April 17 2013 2:17 PM ET
University of California, Los Angeles, football coach Jim Mora has made a strong statement that he would welcome openly gay players to his team.
In a video for You Can Play, a campaign aimed at improving the environment for LGBT athletes, 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.” The video is the first in the campaign to feature a head football coach prominently, reports Yahoo! Sports.
Yahoo! Sports describes Mora as “the first current major college football coach to encourage gay athletes to play for his team,” noting that Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel expressed his support for gay players in an interview with a Columbus publication in 2010; Tressel is now retired. Duke University football players recently made a You Can Play video, but their coach, David Cutcliffe, did not appear, nor did famed Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The UCLA video (watch below), which also features quarterback Brett Hundley and numerous other players and coaches, premiered Monday at a campus symposium on combating homophobia in sports. Mora further expressed his support for gay athletes in a follow-up interview with Outsports, saying, “I don’t judge people on their color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their religious beliefs. It doesn’t matter to me.”