You Can Play and Major League Lacrosse, the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, announced today a strategic partnership in an effort to promote equality, promote inclusion and eliminate homophobia in sports.
“Partnering with You Can Play is an important way to showcase the League’s commitment to lift up absolutely everyone in the lacrosse community,” said Kevin Murphy, Brand and Marketing Manager at Major League Lacrosse. “Major League Lacrosse has and always will be an all-inclusive environment that prioritizes solidarity, loyalty, and support for all. We encourage everyone to share in and enjoy lacrosse culture and community. We are committed to fairness on and off the field and recognize our LGBT fans and allies as an important part of our family.”
In 2005, the MLL’s Boston Cannons drafted goalie Andrew Goldstein from Dartmouth College. Goldstein had previously been publicized on ESPN for discussing his experience with coming out to his college lacrosse team. Goldstein is an advisor to You Can Play and remains involved with the lacrosse community including work with the “Courage Game,” an effort that honors LGBT kids and straight allies. Dr. Goldstein, now a stem cell researcher at UCLA, said, “Lacrosse has been a leader in the march toward equality and respect for all athletes. I feel honored that I was able to compete openly in the MLL with the full support of teammates, coaches and the front office, and I’m proud of the efforts that will allow others to do the same.”
“We’re extremely happy to have Major League Lacrosse as part of the You Can Play Team,” said co-founder Brian Kitts. “Lacrosse has long been a leader in acknowledging that heart, talent and skill make great athletes, and that discrimination doesn’t build a team.”
Major League Lacrosse’s nine teams in Annapolis, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Columbus, Denver, Long Island, Rochester and Boca Raton, will all host You Can Play recognition events and provide educational resources regarding LGBT issues in sports for athletes and fans. The teams also will participate in the You Can Play video campaign that showcases athletes, players and fans recognizing an athlete’s talent and commitment to sport over sexual orientation or gender identity. In previous years, the Boston Cannons have hosted You Can Play events and Denver Outlaws players have appeared in videos for You Can Play.
Major League Lacrosse joins a number of leagues in partnering with You Can Play including the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Football League, Canadian Women’s Hockey League and others.
The 2016 MLL season will kick-off on Saturday, April 23 with a rematch of the 2015 Championship Game as the New York Lizards begin their title defense versus the Rochester Rattlers. MLL newcomer, the Atlanta Blaze, play their inaugural game against the Chesapeake Bayhawks. While the Ohio Machine travel to Florida to take on the Launch and the Boston Cannons will battle the Charlotte Hounds. For more information on the upcoming 2015 MLL season, please visit http://www.majorleaguelacrosse.com/game-schedule/.
Major League Lacrosse was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston. Major League Lacrosse has recently concluded its fifteenth season. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports. The league is made up of nine teams: The Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, New York Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.