News :: Sports

Major League Baseball Celebrates Spirit Day

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Oct 17, 2013
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The MLB’s Spirt Day Twitter image.
The MLB’s Spirt Day Twitter image.  (Source:Twitter)

On Oct. 17, officials and athletes from Major League Baseball will show their support for Spirit Day - a day promoted by GLAAD to support LGBT youth who are victims of bullying.

The MLB’s Twitter image has been changed to have a purple boarder and the organization recently tweeted "stands up against bullying and sticks up for LGBT youth by going purple for #SpiritDay."

"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."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura echoed Wright’s statement and said, "Words, just as much as actions, have consequences. You are more powerful than you know."

During Game 5 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Tigers, a crowd will "be prompted on the scoreboard and over a public-address announcement to learn more about the day’s meaning and how to be involved," the MLB writes.

"As our country moves closer to full legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, LGBT youth continue to face staggering rates of bullying at school," GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said. "Spirit Day is an opportunity for all of us to send a message of support to LGBT youth everywhere and for those young people to hold their heads high while our nation stands behind them."

Some baseball teams have worked with anti-bullying organizations to help bullied youth. The New York Mets have teamed up with StopBullying.gov while the Atlanta Braves are working with the Anti-Defamation League and its No Place for Hate campaign.

"Everyone deserves acceptance and tolerance regardless of race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religious beliefs," Braves right fielder Justin Upton said. "If you are being bullied, you should know you are not alone. You should also know it is not your fault. Please confide in someone: Your parents, your teacher, a friend. It’s important to let someone know you are hurting. And if you know or see someone being bullied, do something about it."

"It seems that bullying has gone to a whole new level in the last several years, and the consequences are staggering," Braves president John Schuerholz added. "We know that kids listen to their favorite athletes, and we had many of our players who wanted to be a part of this. Hopefully, hearing from someone they admire will result in them seeking the help they need."

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