Kit Ramgopal of NBC News reports that the Yankees are the only team yet to hold a Pride Night at its stadium. The Angels announced their plans to host a Pride Night in June next year, Maury Brown of Forbes reported on Tuesday. Before that announcement, the Angels and Yankees were the only two teams not yet on board.
Ramgopal spoke to David Kilmnick, the CEO of the New York-based nonprofit LGBT Network, who said, “I still thought it was important that … all New York teams show their support for the LGBT community. Kilmnick said the Yankees didn’t seem interested, saying “there wasn’t much going back and forth.” Kilmnick added, “It’s a shame that we have a team here in the greatest city in the entire country, and one of the most diverse cities in the entire country, that is not doing a Pride Night to welcome its LGBT fanbase.”
While a Pride Night may not seem important, the gesture goes a long way, especially in a sport that has had issues with homophobia, even recently. The effort to include a historically disenfranchised group helps break down barriers and helps LGBTQ fans feel safe and welcome.
Ramgopal also spoke with Brian Kitts, co-founder of nonprofit You Can Play, who said, “It’s easy to get caught up in whether or not holding a Pride Night is a sin. In a lot of ways, Pride Nights are an easy way to check a box.”
He’s right, of course. And Ramgopal points out that the Yankees have supported the LGBTQ community in other ways behind the scenes. That being said, it isn’t all that much more effort to allot one of the 81 home games.
Former player Billy Bean has served as MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion since 2014, helping Major League Baseball become more inclusive. He has been at most, if not all, of the Pride Nights the teams have hosted in the last few years. Beyond Pride Nights, he will certainly be helping the league to find more ways to open its doors to different groups of people.