Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams is calling for his "fellow Catholics" to reconsider supporting the Los Angeles Dodgers following the team's decision to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at its upcoming Pride Night celebration.
Williams said in a statement on Twitter he is "deeply troubled by the Dodgers' decision to re-invite and honor the group" on June 16 because the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence "makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion."
"I believe it is essential for the Dodgers to reconsider their association with this group and strive to create an inclusive environment that does not demean or disrespect the religious beliefs of any fan or employee," Williams said. "I also encourage my fellow Catholics to reconsider their support of an organization that allows this type of mockery of its fans to occur."
The right-handed pitcher added he knows he isn't alone in his "frustration, hurt and disappointment" in the decision.
What is the controversy with the Dodgers and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence?
The saga surrounding the group's celebration began with the Dodgers set to honor the group's Los Angeles chapter with the team's Community Hero Award before the team's Pride Night game against the San Francisco Giants.
However, ultra-conservative influences outside the Dodgers and Los Angeles community, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and The Catholic League president and CEO Bill Donohue, expressed outrage about the decision, claiming the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's use of drag attire mixed with religious imagery is offensive to Catholics. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are civil rights activists, committed to public service to marginalized communities.
Due to the outrage, the Dodgers rescinded the invitation to the group for its Pride Night, which received backlash and other LGBTQ+ groups deciding they would not participate in the event. A few days later, the Dodgers publicly apologized to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and invited the group back for Pride Night, which the group accepted.
Others speak on Dodgers honoring Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Williams isn't the only MLB player to speak on Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, as even a Dodgers ace has spoken not in favor of honoring the group. Clayton Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times on Monday he disagreed with the team's decision to re-invite the group.
"I don’t agree with making fun of other people’s religions," Kershaw told the LA Times. "It has nothing to do with anything other than that. I just don’t think that, no matter what religion you are, you should make fun of somebody else’s religion. So that’s something that I definitely don’t agree with."
The Nationals are currently in the middle of a three-game series at the Dodgers. Williams started Monday's game against Los Angeles, pitching five innings, giving up six runs − all unearned − with six hits and three strikeouts in a 6-1 loss.
Contributing: Jim Reineking, Steve Gardner and Gabe Lacques
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nationals pitcher blasts Dodgers over Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence