SBD/June 15, 2017/Franchises

MLB Cardinals Upset LGBT Groups For Having Lance Berkman Speak On "Christian Day"

Berkman two years ago strongly opposed an equal-rights ordinance in Houston
The MLB Cardinals have "drawn ire from several LGBT voices" for allowing former MLBer Lance Berkman "to speak July 30 at Busch Stadium for the team’s 'Christian Day,'" according to Scott Gleeson of USA TODAY. Berkman two years ago "strongly opposed an equal-rights ordinance in Houston that prohibited discrimination based on gender, race, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity." He "specifically took aim at the transgender community." Pride Center of St. Louis was among the groups who "blasted the Cardinals’ decision" (USATODAY.com, 6/14). The Cardinals noted Berkman participated in Christian Day when he was with the team and said in a statement, "We welcome him back this year to discuss his faith." In St. Louis, Joe Holleman noted this comes as the Cardinals plan on hosting its first Pride Night later this season. Cardinals VP/Communications Ron Watermon said that the club has "'for at least a decade,' hosted numerous group nights for LGBT businesses and groups." He added that the team "hopes to hold the LGBT theme night by late August" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/14). The Cardinals "came under fire last March, when gay minor-league pitcher Tyler Dunnington said he stepped away from baseball after hearing hateful speech from coaches and teammates" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/14). NBCSPORTS.com's Bill Baer wrote the Cardinals are a business, and in "going through with inviting Berkman, they are risking alienating the section of their fan base that also intersects with LGBTQ." They have "every right to continue to invite Berkman, but fans also have every right to speak with their wallets by not showing up at the ballpark and buying merchandise" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/15).
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