May 30, 2023 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that Major League Baseball (MLB) Toronto Blue Jays player Anthony Bass has endorsed anti-LGBTQ+ boycotts of supportive corporations.
Bass shared a “reel” from another account which explained the “biblical reason” those of Christian faith should boycott companies like Target and Bud Light, which have been publicly supporting LGBTQ+ rights. In response, the Blue Jays provided a statement saying that “Individual player sentiments are not representative of the club’s beliefs,” while maintaining the team’s commitment to “providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all.”
“At Athlete Ally, we want to see baseball – and all sports – safe, welcoming and inclusive for all LGBTQI+ players, coaches and fans,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “Anthony Bass’ call for the boycotting of LGBTQ+ supportive companies is at odds with that vision, as are many other gaps to inclusion within the culture of baseball. We hope to see the Blue Jays increase the ways in which they invest in making their stadium a welcoming environment for the LGBTQI+ community to offset the harms that Bass’ comments are likely to create. This could include detailed statements of inclusion from players and leadership, educational campaigns around the lived experiences of the LGBTQI+ community, storytelling featuring LGBTQI+ fans, and more. Athlete Ally is here as a resource and will do all we can to make baseball stadiums places where everyone can enjoy the game they love.”
“Being able to be my full self and play pro baseball has been life changing for me,” said Athlete Ally Ambassador and Sioux City Explorers (American Association of Professional Baseball) player Solomon Bates. “Anthony Bass’ actions are extremely disheartening, because I think of all the closeted players and fans who saw his Instagram story and know that he is against LGBTQ+ rights. When a pro athlete makes those kinds of views public, it sends a very clear message that he does not welcome LGBTQI+ players or fans. This leads to players and fans seeing that baseball is not a safe space for them, which forces them to either hide who they are or say goodbye to the sport they love.”