The New York Mets have announced that they will be hosting a Pride Night this summer in recognition of their LGBTI fans.
The announcement, which was made yesterday at a press conference in Queens, New York, yesterday, makes the Mets the first New York pro team in the city to host a Pride Night.
The Chicago Cubs have been running a Pride Night since 2001 and the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants organized similar events last season.
The Mets’ Pride Night game will take place against San Diego Padres on 13 August.
‘New York is the most diverse and inclusive city in the world, and the Mets welcome all fans throughout the season,’ Mets executive VP Lou DePaoli said in a statement.
‘We are particularly proud to welcome the LGBT community on Pride Night at Citi Field.’
The famed baseball team’s Pride Night event has been organized in consultation with LGBT Network. Its CEO, David Kilmnick, said in a statement: ‘Bullying is still a major league problem for LGBT youth. Over 82 percent report being verbally and physically harassed in the past year. It’s not only the school hallways where our young people report feeling unsafe, but also on the ball field.
‘As a lifelong Mets fan, I am proud the New York Mets are not only the defending National League champions, but the champion of the New York sports world in making sure that everyone is welcomed and celebrated at Citi Field.’
Officials say they are expecting around 5,000 LGBT people and families to turn up for the event.
Increasingly, the sports world is recognizing the importance of demonstrating LGBT inclusion. Two weeks ago, in London, a major conference was hosted by corporate sponsors on what can be done to persuade sporting bodies to fully support LGBT diversity and inclusion.
Adidas used the conference to announce that it had incorporated a clause within its contracts with athletes assuring them that they would not lose their endorsement deals if they came out as LGBT.
Soccer team Manchester United also announced that it was organizing a match between a team of veterans and an LGBT soccer squad.
Nike made headlines last week when it terminated its endorsement deal with Manny Pacquiao after the Philippine boxer made homophobic comments about gay couples.