The Staten Island Yankees are responding to calls of a boycott after announcing a partnership with controversial fast food chain Chick-fil-A earlier this week.
The short-season affiliate of the New York Yankees drew the ire of the Pride Center of Staten Island, which called for fans who support the LGBTQ community to avoid going to games this summer.
Staten Island Yankees partner with Chick-fil-A
The Yankees announced, via video on Facebook, a partnership with Chick-fil-A, the chicken chain popular for both its food and its founders’ policies. The video shows Scooter, the team’s cow mascot, hanging out at the ballpark with the company’s “Eat Mor Chikin” cow while Harry Nilsson’s hit “Best Friend” plays.
For every walk-off win at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, each fan will receive a free chicken sandwich at the iconic southern eatery. Fans present their game ticket any time during the season at the Staten Island Mall location for the deal. The Chick-fil-A opened last September.
The press release announcing the news stated the two hoped to build a “lasting relationship” and work together “to have a positive influence on the Staten Island community.”
Pride Center calls for Yankees boycott
Carol Bullock, executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island, called for a boycott of the team’s games because of the anti-LGBTQ groups Chick-fil-A supports.
The conversation around Chick-fil-A’s relationship with the LGBTQ communities fired up in 2012 and continues to make headlines. Last month a report by ThinkProgress showed that despite the company pledging to stop donating money to such groups, it continued to do so.
The 2017 tax documents obtained show $1.8 million in donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), the Paul Anderson Youth Home and the Salvation Army. Previous donations were made to the Family Research Council, Exodus International and the Marriage & Family Legacy Fund, per Station Island Advance.
“Chick-fil-A contributes to anti-LGBTQ groups that promote horrible policies," Bullock said. “...Our community and allies fight hard every day for equality and inclusion. Any partnership between one organization and an organization that chooses to work against us is, in fact, supporting those discriminatory and exclusionary philosophies. Therefore, we chose to not support either. ...Please show Scooter (the “Holy Cow” mascot) he is hanging with the wrong crowd; don’t go to any Staten Island Yankee games.”
FCA reportedly requires employees to refrain from “homosexual acts” and includes in its “Statement of Faith” that sexual intimacy is between only a married man and woman. The Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian “residential home” in Georgia, teaches youth that same-sex marriage is “a rage against Jesus Christ and His values,” per the report. The Salvation Army has been trying to downplay its history with anti-LGBTQ+ policies.
The restaurant is still opening new locations to long opening day lines and is the third-fastest growing chain in the country. Yet many places, including airports in San Antonio and Buffalo, are blocking the company.
Yankees release statement for ‘communication’
The Yankees released a statement Friday, four days after the partnership announcement, detailing the events of the week and calling for communication on the issue.
Statement from the Staten Island Yankees. pic.twitter.com/WGlopSCLpM
— Staten Island Yankees (@SIYanks) April 12, 2019
“It is part of our central theme to invite everyone to our home and offer it as a destination for our entire community to gather and be entertained,” the statement from president Will Smith read. The team noted it is believed to be the first professional baseball team in New York City to host a pride night when it partnered with the Pride Center in 2015.
The team said it asked to meet with the center before it issued its boycott to “better understand their stance in hopes of building a bridge of communication to educate our community on these issues.” It said it received no response.
Roosevelt Board, the owner/operator of the the Staten Island Chick-fil-A location, told Staten Island Advance recent coverage of the company “continues to drive an inaccurate narrative about our brand” and that its “sole focus is on providing delicious food and welcoming everyone.”
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