Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yankees should step up support for LBGT kids

The San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs are doing a wonderful thing in leading the effort in Major League Baseball to support the “It Gets Better" video campaign aimed at lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender kids targeted for discrimination. It’s time for the New York Yankees to join this worthy cause.

The Yankees do so much good for the community, particularly with their HOPE week events. But this particular effort to support LBGT kids is both urgent and critical because they are enduring tremendous pain, anguish and humiliation just because of who they are, feelings that have driven some youngsters to harm themselves.

Sports is one of the last bastions of open discrimination, seen when major stars such as Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah use anti-gay slurs and former New York Giants star David Tyree makes despicable, and quite frankly, ridiculous comments about how allowing gay people to marry would lead to anarchy. Tyree and others are entitled to their opinions, but what they are not entitled to do is enforce their version of morality on the rest of the world. But for every Tyree, there is a Michael Strahan willing to stand up for people being exactly who they are.

I applaud the SF Giants and the Cubs for what they are doing. It’s not an easy decision, especially with all the homophobia and discriminatory rhetoric out there. These baseball teams are risking being shunned by the most bigoted members of our society. Their courage in standing up and doing what’s right for these kids is something to be admired.

It’s time for the Yankees to show that kind of courage and leadership. I would love to see Derek Jeter and some of his teammates join the campaign. Jeter would probably hesitate as he is intensely private about all facets of his life, including his political leanings. But this is not about politics. It’s about doing what is right for kids and no one has been more focused on helping kids than Jeter. Perhaps he can take this next step and convince his teammates to join him. That would be a true show of leadership.

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