The Boston Red Sox today became the third major league baseball team to send a message of support to LGBT young people and a message of inclusion to its fans. The minute-long video features three very recognizable faces from the Red Sox organization - third baseman Kevin Youkilis, catcher (and team captain) Jason Varitek, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
The Red Sox also became the first team to include the voices of its fans and off-the-field staff, by including: Eric Maitland, a Red Sox greeter and Wheelock College counselor; TJ Connelly, Fenway Park’s DJ and member of the Red Sox Fan Services & Entertainment department; Kristen Rosa, Smith College student and Red Sox fan; and Alison Tippett, a student at Lexington High School and daughter of Red Sox Director of Baseball Information Services Tom Tippett. The team said in a statement:
“Bullying is something that has touched many of our lives either personally or through someone we love,” said Senior Vice President of Public Affairs/Marketing Susan Goodenow. “We are proud of dedicated Red Sox fans like 12-year-old Sam Maden who took the courageous step recently to publicly stand up against bullying of LGBT youth, and we are honored to join Sam and others throughout Red Sox Nation in support of the It Gets Better Project.”
The Red Sox want to thank The Trevor Project and GLAAD for their assistance with the production of this PSA.
As we reported when this was announced, the Red Sox organization has been thinking about ways to send a positive message to its fans about LGBT inclusion for quite some time. (Several members of the Red Sox, and Kevin Youkilis in particular, were among the first to reach out to Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley when he came out earlier this year.) This “It Gets Better” video (inspired by a 12 year-old fan who started an online petition) will likely be just the start.
We have been speaking with several other MLB teams who are either considering making similar statements in support of LGBT youth or are already in the process of creating them. We hope the Red Sox' excellent contribution to the dialogue around inclusion in the world of sports encourages even more teams to participate.