In an unprecedented show of support, the six most prominent American major sports leagues -- The National Basketball Association (NBA) / Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS) and NASCAR's diversity program -- will all ‘go purple’ with GLAAD for Spirit Day on Friday, October 19, in a stand against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
The six leagues will send messages of support on Spirit Day to bullied LGBT youth via Twitter and Facebook. The leagues join athletes like Shaquille O'Neal and Terrell Owens who have already pledged to ‘go purple,’ and influential sports organizations, including the GLAAD Amplifier Award-winning "You Can Play" project, GLAAD partner Athlete Ally, GO! Athletes, and UK Rugby champion Ben Cohen's StandUp Foundation. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), like the NBA, will be taking part in Spirit Day for the second consecutive year. USA Track & Field will also participate by providing support through social media. All 30 MLB teams will post special #SpiritDay purple versions of their logos on Twitter.
This is the latest development in what's been a remarkable year for LGBT support in the sports world.
Just last week, I was incredibly proud to join GLSEN's Director of Education Robert McGarry at a Diversity in Sports Symposium hosted by the NFL in New York. GLAAD was honred to speak about LGBT issues in sports before an audience of executives from every major-league sport, as well as the NCAA, sport organizations like the USTA and US Swimming, and athletic departments from several colleges and universities. We had a frank and honest dialogue about the importance of athletic leagues, teams and individuals showing support for LGBT inclusion proudly and in public ways, the value of always keeping a dialogue open, and the challenges that still exist in the world of sports, despite the amazing progress that's been made over the last few years. The topic of LGBT issues in sports was not just present in our talks. Every preceding speaker and panel discussion included LGBT issues alongside other issues like race, religion, gender, ethnicity, disability and economic background. Pioneering sports sociologist (and architect of the Olympic Project for Human Rights) Dr. Harry Edwards opened the symposium by speaking about LGBT issues as the future of true diversity in sport.
GLAAD thanks every league, team, and individual who has shown a commitment to making the world of sports a safe space for LGBT athletes and fans alike. That commitment will be on full display tomorrow during Spirit Day. See who else is going purple for Spirit Day here.
You can also get involved by downloading GLAAD’s Spirit Day resource kit, which contains tools to help turn your community purple in a stand against bullying. Spirit Day participants can also spread the word by telling their friends that they’re going purple on 10/19. Or, you can text PURPLE to 80888 to donate $5 to support the important work GLAAD,GLSEN and The Trevor Project do every day to end bullying and support LGBT youth.