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The New York Yankees are on track to become the only Major League Baseball team that does not host any sort of Pride Night.
It comes after the Los Angeles Angels — the only other MLB team without a Pride Night — announced plans to host an LGBTQ themed event in 2019, leaving the top-ranked World Series team as the sole holdout.
“It’s going to be real hard to look in the mirror and see themselves as the only team in Major League Baseball that is not holding a Pride Night,” David Kilmnick, CEO of the New York-based nonprofit LGBT Network, told NBC News.
Kilmnick said he first pitched the idea for the Yankee’s hometown rival, The Mets, to host a Pride night back in August of 2016. He said that despite being a diehard Mets fan, he attempted to also convince the Yankees to host an LGBTQ themed night at the 2016 MLB Diversity summit.
“I still thought it was important that…all New York teams show their support for the LGBT community,” Kilmnick explained, adding that the team didn’t seem interested, noting, “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.”
However, many critics say that while the Yankees do not host a Pride Night, that doesn’t mean they’re being homophobic, as they shy away from official events with an “ethnic or cultural flavor” as a whole.
Jason Zillo, a Yankees spokesman, said that the team has made efforts off the field with LGBTQ inclusivity, including the team’s general and assistant general manager having worked with charities geared toward LGBTQ youth.
Brian Kitts, co-founder of You Can Play, said to not judge the Yankees based solely on the lack of a Pride event.
“It’s easy to get caught up in whether or not holding a Pride Night is a sin,” Kitts told NBC news. “In a lot of ways, Pride Nights are an easy way to check a box.”
Kilmnick said the two Met Pride Night games have created a greater queer awareness and ultimately, acceptance.
“We should all be working together to create a more inclusive ballpark,” Kilmnick added, “so that we can help cheer…and root our teams on without the fear of being harassed.”
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