Are you wearing your Purple today? It is the color of the day to take a stand against bullying and supporting LGBTQ youth!
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
We still have the blue of the Dodgers and Cubs, the Yankees’ navy, and Houston’s navy and orange.
Now you can add postseason purple as well.
Today is Spirit Day, and Major League Baseball and all 30 clubs are again taking a united stand against bullying by joining GLAAD in “going purple” to show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
In addition to the symbolic purple found on all MLB social channels, MLB and Twitter partnered with GLAAD to launch a special #SpiritDay emoji. #SpiritDay.
On October 19th, join millions and go purple to take a stand against bullying for #SpiritDay. 💜
Every year on the third Thursday in October, Spirit Day inspires millions around the world to wear purple or “go purple” online in a unified stand against bullying and to show support for LGBTQ youth. This year’s participants include Celine Dion, Halsey, Jimmy Kimmel, Britney Spears, Wanda Sykes, Olivia Newton John, Fergie, Lily Tomlin, Wrabel, Luis Fonsi, Nico Tortorella, Tatiana Maslany and many others.
“Major League Baseball and our clubs are proud to once again join GLAAD and Twitter in taking a stand against bullying and supporting LGBTQ youth,” said Billy Bean, MLB’s vice president and special assistant to the Commissioner. “We encourage supportive and accepting environments among our young fans, in the workplace, in our clubhouses, on the field and in the stands. Spirit Day is a wonderful opportunity for MLB to share our values with our stakeholders, fans and anyone who loves baseball.”
“Having all 30 Major League Baseball clubs go purple for Spirit Day sends a tremendously powerful signal of love and acceptance to LGBTQ youth in this country,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD. “Each year Spirit Day reaches millions, and the participation of MLB athletes and clubs will ensure that it has an even broader reach and greater impact this year.”
October is Bullying Prevention Month, a good time to raise awareness about MLB’s overall commitment to use its platform to help reduce incidents of bullying among young people. More than 10 million students report being bullied each year in the U.S., according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Education.
“Bullying is widespread,” Mets third baseman David Wright said. “It’s a serious problem that can happen to anyone at any time at any place.”
In addition to continuing its support of the annual Spirit Day, MLB has partnered with ESPN on its innovative Shred Hate initiative and is activating that program during the 2017-18 academic year in schools in three MLB markets — Minneapolis, Washington D.C. and Chicago. The partnership was announced by MLB in August, and it will expand to additional cities following the initial launch year.
No Bully, a nonprofit that trains schools how to activate student compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying, will work directly with local school districts through this program. Shred Hate was launched in January at the X Games in Aspen, Colo., and the program was able to reduce 94 percent of bullying cases in the Colorado schools that implemented the No Bully System.
MLB and ESPN will collaborate with No Bully on its curriculum and will support the initiative through various multimedia platforms and other promotional activities.
“Major League Baseball and our clubs believe in creating respectful, non-discriminatory and anti-harassment environments in our ballparks, clubhouses and front offices,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “We are proud to extend that approach through Shred Hate as we work with our partners at ESPN and No Bully to make a meaningful impact on the development of our society’s future leaders.”
Spirit Day was started in 2010 in response to the number of LGBTQ youth who had taken their own lives. MLB is proud to be an ally to the LGBTQ community and encourages its fans to let their voices be heard on social media today. All MLB and 30 club social-media accounts will tweet messages of support using #SpiritDay throughout the day.
Many clubs conduct theme- or event-based Pride outings at their ballparks during the regular season. As just one such example, the Cardinals held their first Pride Night this season at Busch Stadium, and it was one of the most popular theme nights on their schedule. Fans there enjoyed the Gateway Men’s Chorus, and received a rainbow “STL” cap. Tyler Dunnington, a former Cardinals Minor Leaguer, said at that event: “It just goes to show that baseball is a sport for everyone. … It means a lot to be here.”
Pride Night at Busch Stadium
The Cardinals recently held a Pride Night theme night at Busch Stadium
Bean said MLB’s efforts in supporting LGBTQ equality are not about prompting an active Major Leaguer to come out, but rather to simply “put goodness out there. Baseball has a tremendous opportunity to influence the way a lot of people think, when they look up to what we do. We’re the sport of Jackie Robinson, and we integrated sports 70 years ago. But that didn’t end racism that day. There are a lot of issues that are very important to our sport. The LGBT conversation is just a small part of the diversity initiatives that we have to put people of color and women and be as diverse of a workplace as we can be.
“I think the Spirit Day initiative is a simple example of that, where we are putting some goodness out there and saying, ‘Hey, we care about our kids. It doesn’t matter what color, what gender, where you come from, what state you live in, how much money you make, what country you live in, we want people to feel safe and connected to baseball.”