San Diego Padres Sign GLSEN’s Team Respect Challenge
Days before San Diego’s annual Pride festival, the San Diego Padres became the first professional sports team to pledge to support and respect LGBT youth by signing onto the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Team Respect challenge. The players pledged to avoid name-calling and language that puts down others because of differences in race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or religion.
This milestone was purportedly helped along by Padres team manager Bud Black’s wife Nanette. Nanette Black, a pediatric nurse, reportedly strongly supported and suggested the Team Respect Challenge after working with children throughout her career.
"We applaud the Padres for signing this pledge, and we hope that the students involved in athletic teams throughout the District follow their great example," said San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba. "The Padres have proven themselves to be valuable role models San Diego students."
The SDUSD recently adopted an anti-bullying, harassment and intimidation policy. It bans bullying in any form at school or school-related events. The new regulation specifically cites acts motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
"There’s growing attention being paid to treatment of LGBT youth in the media," said Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN. "It’s time that professional sports made concrete improvements in the treatment of LGBT athletes."
The San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have made "It Gets Better" videos in response to the spate of LGBT teenager suicides that grabbed headlines last fall. Philadelphia Phillies fan Jerome Hunt continues to urge the baseball team to follow suit, while others have petitioned the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees to make their own "It Gets Better" videos.