Overwatch League team LA Valiant has announced a brand new partnership with the You Can Play project, an organisation that helps to ensure safety and inclusion for those participating in all kinds of sports, including LGBTQ+ players, coaches, and fans.
You Can Play has already received support from bodies like the NHL and MLS, but LA Valiant are the first from esports to join the social change movement; a big step for the world of competitive gaming that puts them alongside traditional sports doing the same measures.
"For too long, the esports industry has been unfairly characterized as a toxic, unwelcoming environment," said LA Valiant CEO Noah Whinston. "This assumption runs counter to the core values of the Los Angeles Valiant organization and our partnership with the You Can Play Project further cements our dedication to making the LA Valiant an inclusive community. The message is simple: no matter who you are, who you love, or what gender you identify as - if you can play, you can play."
"You Can Play is honored to have the LA Valiant as our first esports partner," added Ryan Pettengill, Executive Director of You Can Play. "They are an organization committed to promoting diversity in and around esports; we are happy to be a part of that effort and so appreciative of their support."
You Can Play will now provide diversity and inclusion training to the players in the LA Valiant team, as well as coaches and staff, with the players also filming a public service announcement to increase awareness of You Can Play in esports, who will also attend LA Valiant events too. What's more is that when the team move to their home arena in 2020, You Can Play will help organise Pride Night events too.
If you visit the team's store you can get pride-themed iron-on Valiant Pride patches too, available throughout this month, with a portion of the profits going to You Can Play.
Are you pleased to see this partnership make steps into the world of esports?