". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Major League Baseball Is the Latest Brand Humbled by Anti-Pride Outrage

June 19, 2023

It was a 15-0 shellacking, but what made the Dodgers even bigger losers in most fans’ eyes was how they handled Friday’s Pride Night. At a pitifully attended pre-game ceremony, the team raced to get a controversial award off its hands before people could come in and boo. While thousands protested outside the gates, management made the telling decision to recognize the LGBT group, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, before a virtually empty arena. As Breitbart’s Dylan Gwinn put it, “To say there were more reporters in attendance than fans … would not be a major exaggeration.”

Outside, a sea of people railed against the team’s decision to partner with a group that most Americans consider wildly offensive. The Sisters, who get their jollies dressing up like drag nuns and pole dancing on crosses, is apparently the Dodgers’ idea of a solid, community-centered “ministry.” Despite weeks of ferocious grassroots pushback, the team went forward with the award — to the outrage of national Catholics.

Most, like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), considered the special recognition “blasphemy.” In a passionate statement of opposition, the bishops blasted the Dodgers for celebrating a group “whose lewdness and vulgarity in mocking our Lord … cannot be overstated. This is not just offensive and painful to Christians everywhere, it is blasphemy.”

“It has been heartening to see,” the USCCB went on, the number of “faithful Catholics and others of goodwill stand up to say that what this group does is wrong, and it is wrong to honor them.”

On Friday afternoon, those faithful turned out in force, creating an interfaith crowd so massive that it temporarily shut down the park’s front entrance. One by one, religious, political, and cultural leaders took the rally stage, urging believers to stand their ground. Jack Posobiec of Human Events insisted, “They always come for the church first — and that’s why we’re not gonna let them take it!” Others, like Jesse Holguin, told local news outlet KTLA, “All the faiths are standing untied. We’re very angry that the Dodgers invited this group that mocked our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

“We’re hoping that the Dodgers will see the amount of Catholics and Christians showing up here today peacefully,” said protestor Anthony Rodriguez. “We’re showing that we’re not budging. We’ve drawn a line in the sand, and we’re putting our faith first.”

In between times of prayer and music, the procession waved signs and flags. The Los Angeles archbishop, Jose Gomez, even held a special mass before the game, where he reminded congregants: “Religious freedom and the respect for the beliefs of others are hallmarks of our nation. When God is insulted, when the beliefs of any of our neighbors are ridiculed,” Gomez argued, “it diminishes all of us.”

While the Dodgers went forward with their LGBT fawning, the rest of the league is having second thoughts. After quietly killing player Pride gear this past February, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was finally pinned down by reporters at the owners’ meeting in New York last Thursday.

Asked whether the league would start “standardizing Pride celebrations” for all franchises, Manfred made it clear that however teams recognize June, they need to leave their players out of it. “We have told teams, in terms of actual uniforms, hats, bases, that we don’t think putting logos on them is a good idea just because of the desire to protect players,” he told The Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes. At the end of the day, Manfred said, we should not be “putting them in a position of doing something that may make them uncomfortable because of their personal views.”

That’s a colossal shift from last summer, when players were expected to put up and shut up when it came to the league’s LGBT pandering. Now, thanks to the no-Pride tide in the NHL and the consumer backlash upending major brands, other sports are stopping to reconsider their toxic ideology.

After suffocating fans with LGBT activism, Manfred’s 180 is more evidence that Americans are finally being heard in the fog of extreme rhetoric that’s descended on everyday life. It’s “significant,” Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell told The Washington Stand.

Blackwell, part of the shareholder group of the Cincinnati Reds, has watched the grassroots pushback explode across industries over these past few months. As more Americans flex their muscle against leftist corporations, mighty brands aren’t the only thing being humbled. After an embarrassing season for Pride in the NHL, Commissioner Gary Bettman conceded that he’ll have to “reevaluate” how the league handles LGBT partnerships. Major League Baseball is a step ahead, warning teams off player coercion or in-your-face messaging.

“It’s an appropriate pullback from the fiduciary suicide that baseball was committing,” Blackwell insisted. Most fans just want to be entertained, he agreed. “This sort of ‘advocacy athleticism,’” as he called it, “is just a slippery slope.”

It’s not like the statement baseball made when “it broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson,” the former mayor of Cincinnati explained. That was about “putting the most talented people on the field.” With these latest stunts, he said, “whether it’s the NBA or the kneeling in the NFL … they’re not trying to combat racism [or, in this] latest situation [LGBT intolerance]. They’re basically [attacking] people because of their beliefs.” And that might seem like “a hip thing to do, until they realize they’re actually insulting and abusing a significant portion of their fan base.”

“It’s just like the whole Bud Light controversy,” Blackwell pointed out. “Folks are speaking with their feet and their pocketbooks. People aren’t just going to sit on the sidelines anymore and be insulted. These activists who are pushing this agenda [seem to] think hardworking, everyday, Bible-believing people are marshmallows — and we’re not.”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.