Clayton Kershaw says he disagrees with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to invite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a satirical LGBTQ+ organisation, to the team’s annual Pride Night.
Kershaw told The Los Angeles Times on Monday that the team’s choice to honour the organisation after it cancelled its first invitation spurred him to contact the Dodgers about hastening the announcement that Christian Faith and Family Day will be reinstated later this season.
“I think we were always going to do Christian Faith Day this year, but the timing of our announcement was sped up,” Kershaw said. “Choosing a date and doing those other things were also part of it.” Yes, that was in reaction to the Dodgers’ publicising of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”
Last Friday, Kershaw announced on Twitter that Christian Faith and Family Day would be celebrated on July 30 when the Dodgers play the Cincinnati Reds. It was last held by the Dodgers in 2019.
Kershaw, who has been with the organisation since 2006, said that his difficulties were with the Sisters, not the LGBTQ+ community. He also said that he would not boycott the Dodgers’ game against the San Francisco Giants on June 16.
“This has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community, Pride, or anything like that,” Kershaw said before Monday’s game, after holding a players-only discussion in the clubhouse. “This is simply a group making fun of a religion with which I disagree.”
On May 17, the Dodgers retracted their initial invitation to the Sisters after receiving criticism from several conservative Roman Catholics and politicians, notably Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who accused the group of ridiculing nuns and the Christian religion.
However, the Dodgers’ decision triggered an outcry from LGBTQ+ organisations around the nation, with some opting out of Pride Night. Five days later, the Dodgers overturned their decision and welcomed them back.
The Sisters, a charity, protest, and performance organisation comprised mostly of males dressed as nuns, was created in San Francisco in 1979. Its branch in Los Angeles will get the Community Hero Award.
The organisation denied being anti-Catholic. According to the group’s website, it employs “humour and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency, and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
Trevor Williams, a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, also blasted the Dodgers on Tuesday, saying he was “deeply troubled” by the decision.
The Nationals will play the Dodgers this week in Los Angeles.
“To invite and honour a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of over 4 million people in Los Angeles County alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organisation,” Williams wrote to his more than 43,000 followers on his Twitter account.
“It is counterproductive and incorrect to create an environment in which one group feels celebrated and honoured at the expense of another.” It is a blatant violation of the Dodgers’ Discrimination Policy, which says unequivocally that “any conduct or attire at the ballpark that is deemed indecent or prejudiced against any particular group (or religion) is not tolerated.”
In recent years, Pride Nights have sparked considerable controversy in the sporting world. Last season, five Tampa Bay Rays pitchers refused to wear Pride shirts due to their Christian convictions.
On Tuesday, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass apologised for his social media support for anti-LGBTQ+ boycotts of Target and Bud Light.
During the most recent NHL regular season, seven players chose not to wear rainbow-colored jerseys on their respective clubs’ Pride evenings. After wearing rainbow warmup jerseys in past seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, and Minnesota Wild did not do so this season.