Saturday, November 23, 2013
MLS Anti-Discrimination Campaign Way Ahead of Other Pro Sports Leagues
The MLS 'Don't Cross the Line' campaign began earlier this year. In a public service announcement to proclaim soccer above discrimination and harassment of any kind, several of MLS' best players, including Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman and Dwayne De Rosario, openly show their support for the ideals of tolerance.
It is an impressive and unique type of effort. It appears to be the boldest statement made by any of the pro sports leagues in the U.S. of the rights to fairness and equality for everyone.
Interestingly, this marketing effort was created a few weeks before the signing of Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay player in the League.
MLS is considered to be highly popular among younger sports fans. And, the younger generation tends to be less consumed by sexual identities of people or the quirkiness of individuals.
The marketing effort could be construed as opportunistic and MLS purposely trying to extend their profile among their core fans.
It doesn't matter why MLS has done the campaign or whose idea it was to do it. The point is that MLS is leading the way among all the pro sports leagues for inclusiveness and civility. It is a message that all the pro sports leagues should promote and will at some point very soon.
MLS doesn't have an image problem. Yes, they have fewer teams than MLB, NHL, NBA and the NFL, but their players are not suffering life-threatening injuries, charged with serious crimes and are not caught cheating on athletic performance.
When watching the spot, MLS comes across as comfortable with itself and their sport, like there's nothing to hide from. Are the other pro sports leagues hiding something?
The 'Don't Cross the Line' spot is especially appropriate when considering the bullying spotlight put forth recently in the NFL. MLS is miles ahead and setting the example on how to address the bullying issue.
Originally Published November 2013