Photo by Arturo Pardavila III. License information here.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball elected its next commissioner, Rob Manfred, a 16-year league employee who is MLB’s current chief operating officer. His tenure begins in January 2015.
At Athlete Ally, we know that Mr. Manfred has a proven record as an ally to the LGBT community, championing respect and inclusion. When announcing the strategic alliance between MLB and Athlete Ally at this year’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis, Mr. Manfred spoke about the importance of this issue. Here are the future commissioner’s comments in full, as well as those of Athlete Ally Executive Director Hudson Taylor.
Congratulations, Mr. Manfred. We look forward to continued great work ahead.
ROB MANFRED: Good afternoon. For the last year or so we have been working extensively with a not‑for‑profit group, Athlete Ally. The purpose of Athlete Ally is to end homophobia and transphobia in sports.
Over the past year Athlete Ally has been very active in our space. They were present at the winter meetings in Orlando, they were involved in the rookie career development program that was held last January. They participated in the diversity summit that Wendy Lewis, who is here with us today, coordinated in New York in May.
And today we would like to announce the next step in our relationship with Athlete Ally. We are forming a strategic alliance, the purpose of which is to provide education and training on respect and inclusion in our workplace. Athlete Ally will work not only with players, but also with front office personnel on these issues.
Major League Baseball and Commissioner Selig are extremely proud of the efforts that we have made in the area of inclusion. The announcement welcoming Billy Bean back to Major League Baseball as our Ambassador for Inclusion is an important one.
In addition, we have been working with various groups involved in the LGBT community to develop an internship program. We’ll have an intern at 245 Park in the Commissioner’s office, as well as at MLB.com. I’d like to especially thank Bob Bowman, the C.E.O. of MLB.com, for his support of this effort. I’d also like to thank Hudson Taylor for his assistance in identifying qualified candidates.
As Commissioner Selig said earlier, it is very important to all of us that the national pastime remain a symbol of inclusiveness as we move forward. Thank you very much.
HUDSON TAYLOR: I want to start by thanking Rob Manfred, Commissioner Selig, and all of Major League Baseball for their continued commitment to creating a welcoming workplace and fan environment, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The principles of respect and inclusion have always been central to the identity of baseball. And Athlete Ally is honored to partner with the league on continuing this legacy.
Over the last year Athlete Ally has had the privilege of working with players and personnel on respect and inclusion. We have been inspired by these conversations and interactions and look forward to continuing this strategic alliance so every athlete, employee, and fan knows that MLB’s commitment to the LBGT community is second to none.
Creating inclusive cultures requires explicitly inclusive actions. Today’s honoring of Glenn Burke’s legacy and of his family, the league’s hiring of Billy Bean, its announcement of LGBT internships, and this strategic alliance with Athlete Ally shows baseball is committed to creating an inclusive culture.
Thank you, Rob, and Commissioner Selig, for your continued leadership. Thank you, Glenn Burke and your family, and Billy Bean, and really, every LBGT athlete, every LBGT coach and fan for bringing this issue to the forefront by sharing your experience with the world.
And lastly, thank you Major League Baseball for inviting Athlete Ally to join you on this journey to making the sport of baseball welcoming for all. Thank you so much.