Overwatch League franchise Los Angeles Valiant, owned by esports organisation Immortals, has entered a social change partnership with the You Can Play project.
You Can Play is a group “dedicated to ensuring safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports”. Los Angeles Valiant is the first entity in esports to get involved with the initiative.
Noah Whinston, CEO of Los Angeles Valiant discussed the unique partnership: “For too long, the esports industry has been unfairly characterized as a toxic, unwelcoming environment. 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.”
As part of this partnership, You Can Play is set to deliver diversity and inclusion training to the players, coaches, and staff members who represent Los Angeles Valiant. Afterwards, the team will film an awareness video of the initiative to reach figures in esports. When the franchise moves into its own arena in 2020, You Can Play will host “Pride Night” events.
Ryan Pettengill, Executive Director of You Can Play added: “You Can Play is honored to have the LA Valiant as our first esports partner. 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.”
Another perk of this partnership will see Los Angeles Valiant selling jerseys with “prime-themed iron-on” patches on its online store throughout June 2018 – the team will debut these patches in its match again New York Excelsior on June 2nd. Some of the proceeds will go to You Can Play, helping to deliver “educational and awareness resources to sports communities of all ages to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion.”
You Can Play was launched back in 2012 by Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, as well as GForce Sports’ Brian Kitts and Glenn Witman. Los Angeles Valiant welcomes You Can Play alongside its other partners: Lionsgate and Razer.
Esports Insider says: This is a huge, unique partnership in the esports industry, and the collaboration between the Valiant and You Can Play seems like a really good idea. Inclusion is a hot topic in the industry, and we’re sure this partnership is a step in the right direction.