Los Angeles Dodgers’ star pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, openly expressed his disagreement with the team’s decision to welcome a satirical LGBTQ+ group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at their annual Pride Night. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Kershaw revealed that he approached the Dodgers to expedite the announcement of bringing back Christian Faith and Family Day in response to the controversy surrounding the inclusion of the Sisters. Kershaw clarified that his issues were with the group’s mockery of religion and not with the LGBTQ+ community. He emphasized that he will not boycott Pride Night despite his concerns.
The Dodgers initially extended an invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence but faced backlash from conservative Roman Catholics and politicians, including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. This led to the team retracting the invitation. However, the decision sparked backlash from LGBTQ+ groups across the country, prompting the Dodgers to reverse their decision and welcome the Sisters back. The Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be honored with the Community Hero Award during the event.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a charity, protest, and performance group founded in San Francisco in 1979. They utilize humor and irreverent wit to challenge bigotry, complacency, and guilt. Despite accusations of anti-Catholicism, the group maintains that their intention is not to offend but to shed light on societal issues.
Pitcher Trevor Williams of the Washington Nationals also criticized the Dodgers’ decision, expressing deep concern over the inclusion of a group that mocks his religion and undermines the values of respect and inclusivity. The Nationals are currently in Los Angeles for a series against the Dodgers.
The inclusion of LGBTQ+ groups during Pride Nights in sports has been a topic of division in recent years. Last season, five pitchers from the Tampa Bay Rays cited their Christian faith in refusing to wear Pride jerseys. In the NHL, several players opted out of wearing rainbow-colored jerseys during their teams’ Pride nights. The Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, and Minnesota Wild also chose not to wear rainbow warmup jerseys this season, despite doing so in previous years.
As the debate surrounding the balance between inclusivity and religious beliefs continues, athletes and organizations find themselves navigating the complexities of promoting acceptance while respecting diverse viewpoints.