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MLS Scores With 'Don't Cross The Line' Campaign

The league targets discrimination of all kinds, including homophobia.

Jay DeMerit of the Vancouver Whitecaps is part of the Don't Cross The Line campaign.
Jay DeMerit of the Vancouver Whitecaps is part of the Don't Cross The Line campaign.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

Fans of Major League Soccer, whether in the stands or on TV, have seen banners that say "Don't Cross The Line" on displays in stadiums and on video screens. It's part of the league's campaign against discrimination of any kinds, on and off the pitch, including homophobia.

"We're part of a global community, with every age, race, gender, sexuality or ability, everyone is welcome. We draw the line at discrimination or harassment of any kind," says a PSA that includes Real Salt Lake MF Kyle Beckerman, Houston Dynamo MF Brad Davis, Vancouver Whitecaps FC D Jay DeMerit, D.C. United MF Dwayne De Rosario, New York Red Bulls F Thierry Henry, Seattle Sounders FC F Eddie Johnson, LA Galaxy F Robbie Keane, Chivas USA GK Dan Kennedy, San Jose Earthquakes F Chris Wondolowski and Sporting Kansas City MF Graham Zusi.

I would have preferred "sexual orientation" to "sexuality," but MLS has been clear about its support for gay players, so I don't see this as a way to blur the issue. Although not the case in the U.S., racism has been a huge problem with European soccer, which is one reason I suspect the campaign is all-encompassing.

Jeff Maurer of the Washington Post, who saw the ads last month when the MLS season started, wrote: "MLS's anti-discrimination campaign is called 'Don't Cross The Line.' Is that a good name? 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." Maurer quibbles here, since I did not take the name that way. I think any discrimination by itself of crossing a line; it's like being a little bit pregnant.

Update: An hour after I posted this story, this happened.

Here are some images of the campaign at various MLS stadiums (click image for larger view)

Houston (Photo by Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports):

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Los Angeles (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports):

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Philadelphia (Evan Habeeb: -USA TODAY Sports)

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Kansas City (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports):

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