Athlete Ally announced at the recent Athlete Ally Action Awards that Brandon McCarthy, a World Series champion, is joining the organization as an Ambassador. He is the first active player in Major League Baseball to serve in this role for the organization, and the 101st Pro Ambassador overall.
“I think it just helps to have people outside of the LGBT community that are willing to say, ‘We’re partnering with them. We’re allies. We want to make a difference, too’,” McCarthy said at last Thursday’s Action Awards.
McCarthy presented an Action Award honoring Yogi Berra for his lifelong commitment to allyship and equality in sports. Berra’s granddaughter, Lindsay Berra, accepted on behalf of the 89 year old sports legend who became an Athlete Ally Ambassador in 2013.
McCarthy spent the 2014 season pitching for the New York Yankees. He has also played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland A’s. In his debut season with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, he earned his first World Series ring.
McCarthy has been outspoken about the need for professional sports culture to change its attitudes toward LGBT athletes and fans. He publicly criticized the homophobia of stadium Kiss Cams, and went on record to support and defend Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay active player.
“Inclusion in sports is: Are you good enough to play? That should be the only thing that matters, hands down”, McCarty said.
McCarthy and Berra have support for their advocacy efforts from another famous Yankee, Hall of Famer Joe Torre. Torre, MLB’s Executive Vice-President for Baseball Operations, appeared at the Action Awards via video message, saying, “I want to congratulate Athlete Ally for the work they’re doing with Major League Baseball and the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, carrying on the legacy of respect and character, and understanding that there’s absolutely no room for discrimination in all of sports.”
The NBA’s Jason Collins, another Action Awards honoree, spoke of the importance of allies like McCarthy. “It’s all about a level playing field and treating everyone in the locker room with respect. And it’s not just going to come from within the LGBT community. It’s really on all of us, allies included. That’s why this organization is so important.”
“We couldn’t have found a better person than Brandon to be our first active MLB Ambassador,” said Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally. “Brandon has been advocating for greater respect and inclusion of the LGBT community in baseball on his own for years now. We’re honored to have him join his voice with ours. And to have him with us to honor Yogi Berra was truly special. Together, they represent the continuation of allyship in baseball from one generation to the next.”
Athlete Ally is a nonprofit organization working to build a future where sports welcome everyone, without prejudice or stereotypes, by educating and activating athletic communities to exercise their leadership to champion LGBT equality. In 2014, Athlete Ally announced a strategic alliance with Major League Baseball aimed at spreading the message of allyship throughout the league. Athlete Ally also partners with the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center on a number of projects, including the Museum’s “Allyship” exhibit, which commemorates the professional athletes who worked the bring equality to sport and to society.