The St. Louis Cardinals’ decision to have Lance Berkman speak at its upcoming “Christian Day” has drawn ire from one local LGBT group. Pride Center of St. Louis said it was “disappointed” the team would allow Berkman to speak at the event due to his “divisive and demeaning” views.
The Pride Center released the following statement to Outsports:
“Pride St. Louis is disappointed by the decision of the St. Louis Cardinals to provide a public platform for Berkman, an individual whose words and actions towards the LGBTQ+ are divisive and demeaning. We know that the Cardinals can do better, and we want to extend an offer to help them by co-organizing their official LGBT Pride Night at Busch Stadium. Let’s work together to promote love, diversity, and inclusion.”
Berkman spoke out against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a measure aimed at protecting Houston’s LGBT residents in 2015. He appeared in an ad denouncing the law, which allowed transgender individuals to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.
The Cardinals organization 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.
Despite some protests, the Cardinals will go ahead with “Christian Day” as planned on July 30. The team put out a statement to Joe Holleman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, defending Berkman as a participant.
“The Cardinals have hosted a Christian Day at the ballpark for nearly three decades. Lance Berkman participated in Christian Day when he was a Cardinals player, and we welcome him back this year to discuss his faith.”
“Christian Day” has been hosted by the Cardinals for several years now. This season’s event will partner with H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, a partnership of charities aimed at helping military families.
The Cardinals are planning to host their first-ever “Pride Night” later this season, according to the Post-Dispatch. The team has not released details about the event at this time.
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