By Zac Ellis
UCLA's Jim Mora Jr. has offered his support of gay players and coaches, saying they'd be encouraged to join his Bruins program. As part of the school athletic department's "You Can Play" campaign, UCLA released a video Tuesday of players and coaches endorsing gay athletes. In the video, 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.”
Mora reaffirmed his support of gay athletes in his program via a telephone interview with OutSports.com. "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."
Duke developed its own "You Can Play" video in the past, but neither football coach David Cutcliffe nor basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski appeared in the spot. According to Yahoo! Sports, Mora is the first major current college coach to be featured prominently in such a campaign.
There are currently no openly gay college football players in FBS, and the dialogue has been largely absent from the sport. But Mora told OutSports.com it's something he keeps in mind with his team. “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."