MLB, Pirates support LGBT youth
Major League Baseball's support of Spirit Day sparked debates Thursday on the Facebook pages of the Pirates and the 29 other big league teams.
Spirit Day supporters wore purple to take a stand against bullying and show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. MLB teams took part by putting a purple border around their avatars on their Twitter accounts and mentioning Spirit Day over Facebook.
There also was a special scoreboard announcement about Spirit Day during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Every MLB team's Facebook page included some form of this post, which appeared on the Pirates' page: “Stand up against bullying and stick up for LGBT youth by going purple for #SpiritDay 10⁄17.”
By early evening, the Pirates' post had drawn more than 450 comments and 2,200 “likes.”
Many of those posting comments focused on the antibullying message. But there also were clashes by gay rights supporters and those who worried that MLB and the Pirates are promoting the gay lifestyle. One comment, “I don't have to accept their perversion. It's sick and twisted,” was followed by “The posts in this thread are why religion needs to die.”
Among the comments from supporters were: “This post makes me even prouder to be a Pirates fan! Go Bucs!” and “Thank you for a wonderful season and thank you so very much for standing up to bullying.”
Other Facebook users, however, seemed confused or even upset. One comment said: “How about you post about baseball and not politics! Bullying isn't just happening to LGBT youth! What about the poor, the mentally challenged, the Christians, the Jews and any other group of people who are ‘different.' ”
Another: “Ummm worst Pirates post ever. Talk about baseball.”
In 2006, October was designated National Bullying Prevention Month. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation organized Spirit Day in 2010 and designated purple as its affiliated color.
MLB spokesman Matt Bourne did not respond directly to questions about involvement in Spirit Day but issued this statement: “This is a well-intentioned initiative that we also participated in last year and is supported by other sports leagues, media companies and corporations. We fully support the spirit of efforts to bring an end to bullying.”
The Pirates' participation in Spirit Day was not the first time the club reached out to the gay community. In August, the Pirates donated 100 tickets to youth and families from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network who signed the Team Respect Pledge. The pledge is part of a national program aimed at building safe environments for LGBT student-athletes.
“Bullying is a serious issue,” Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said. “We are pleased to join Major League Baseball and the other 29 teams in this league-wide initiative to help call attention to this subject. There is no place in our society for bullying anyone for any reason, and we encourage those that have been a victim of bullying to come forward and seek help.”
There were similar posts left on the Facebook pages of other MLB teams. On the St. Louis Cardinals' page, one supporter wrote: “How is this political or religious? I see this as just a being-a-decent-person type of statement.”
A poster on the Braves' page commented: “I'm all for anti-bullying, but those kids need Jesus, not encouragement to pursue that lifestyle. I will love people for who they are and encourage them to find hope in Christ and will definitely rally against bullying, but I will not celebrate sin!”
The team's post on the Cincinnati Reds' page said simply, “Stand up against bullying by going purple for #SpiritDay 10⁄17” and did not mention LGBT youth. It had more than 1,300 “likes” but garnered fewer than 50 comments.
MLB offered no explanation for why the Reds' post differed from those on other teams' Facebook pages.
At least two of the replies on the Reds page were tongue-in-cheek. One read: “Ravens and Vikings fans wear purple. Therefore, I don't own any purple clothing!” Another said: “Yeah, Reds, hear that? Stand up to BULLIES like the CARDINALS (and) PITTSBURGH! ok?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates use big 7th inning to sweep Marlins, stretch winning streak
- Pirates notebook: Alvarez having success looking the other way
- Gameday: Pirates at Padres, May 28, 2015
- Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
- Pirates win 5th straight as offense continues to click in win over Marlins
- Pirates notebook: Struggling Polanco held out of starting lineup
- Pirates pitcher Morton turns in solid performance in win over Marlins
- Former pitcher Allie happily adjusting to outfield
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Mets, May 24, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Stewart, Cole develop rapport
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Mets, May 23, 2015