Why White Sox' Pride Night was important to Liam Hendriks in free agency

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Why Sox' Pride Night was important to Hendriks in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks played five seasons with the Oakland Athletics before hitting free agency and signing a four-year, $54 million contract with Chicago in January 2021.

But it wasn't the money that played the biggest factor in Hendriks' decision to join the South Side.

“It was a simple question of, ‘Do you guys have a Pride Night?’," Hendriks told James Fegan of The Athletic. "And if you don’t, that will be something that we need to look into that working out, making sure that we can handle it, because I don’t want to go necessarily to a team that doesn’t do it.”

Hendriks said it 'wasn't a demand' when he asked the teams that were interested in him if they celebrated the LGBTQ+ community at their ballparks.

The White Sox do, in fact, celebrate Pride Night and have since 2018. This year's celebration will take place on June 23 when the Sox take on the Baltimore Orioles.

Hendriks raised the Pride Flag last September outside of Guaranteed Rate Field and said he later received "horrendous" backlash on social media.

RELATED: Sox' Liam Hendriks wants to fight for players' rights, compensation

However, Hendriks, who is one of Major League Baseball Players Association's alternate reps, isn't afraid to be a voice for those who don't have big platforms.

“The biggest thing is making sure that hopefully it starts more of a trend of other people willing to do it," Hendriks said. "And then the more people that are willing to do it, the more people are willing to come out publicly and say, ‘I’m fine with this.’ And I’m hoping it strengthens the resolve of those people who may be on the fence about coming out, that may be on the fence of telling family, friends, peers or teammates or anything like that and fully embrace that.”

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