Major League Soccer has been promoting ads to end discrimination with the tag line “Don’t Cross the Line” displayed in stadiums and video screens.
“We’re part of a global community, with every age, race, gender, sexuality or ability, everyone is welcome,” the video PSA states. “We draw the line at discrimination or harassment of any kind.”
The PSA includes a long list of allied athletes such as Kyle Beckerman of the Real Salt Lake, Brad Davis of the Houston Dynamo, Jay DerMerit of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Dwayne De Rosario of the D.C. United, Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls, Eddie Johnson of the Seattle Sounders, Robbie Keane of LA Galaxy, Dan Kennedy of the Chivas USA and Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City.
However, some are questioning whether or not the message is the right one.
“MLS’s anti-discrimination campaign is called ‘Don’t Cross The Line.’ Is that a good name?” Washington Post soccer blogger Jeff Maurer wrote in response to the campaign.
“Don’t Cross The Line sounds like, ‘Hey, a little discrimination is okay – we’re not asking for miracles here. Just don’t go nuts with it. Don’t cross the line.’ I’m sure that’s not how they meant it.”
While the hope is that the ads will continue the MLS’ trajectory of inclusion, recent actions demonstrate there is still a ways to go.
Alan Gordon of the San Jose Earthquakes shouted homophobic slurs at Portland Timbers Player Will Johnson during a recent game.
Gordon received two yellow cards for unrelated infractions, leaving the LGBT community angered and Gordon ready with a swift apology.
“I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone who watched tonight’s match on NBC Sports Network,” said Gordon. “The language I used came during a heated moment and does not reflect my feelings toward the gay and lesbian community. I made a mistake and I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
Gordon’s teammate Chris Wondolowski also contributed to the “Don’t Cross The Line” campaign.