LOS ANGELES — Outrage followed the Dodgers leading up to their annual Pride Night at Dodger Stadium and it remained the same on game day, at least outside the ball park.
After originally planning to give the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence the team’s Community Hero award, the Dodgers canceled their plan to honor the group. Days later, they reinvited the Sisters after widespread backlash, including from many LGBTQ+ groups that announced they would not participate in the Dodgers’ Pride Night.
“In the weeks ahead, we will continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind and use our platform to support all of our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family,” the Dodgers said in a statement.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw expressed his disagreement with the team’s decision to honor the group. He spoke with the team about relaunching Christian Faith and Family Day at Dodger Stadium, which he made official with an announcement four days after the Sisters were reinvited.
That buzz built up to Friday. Protesters filled the outskirts of Dodger Stadium and fans shared their thoughts on the night.
Catholics for Catholics and protesters block Vin Scully Ave. entrance
Hundreds of Catholics and Christians joined in a Prayer Procession in Parking Lot 13 led by the Catholics for Catholics. The procession began at 3 p.m. PST, just over four hours before first pitch. A Jewish rabbi and former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva were among some of the speakers who took the stage. Protesters also gathered around the stadium with anti-LGBTQ+ signs to show people driving by or entering the ball park.
The procession lasted nearly two hours before a large group of protesters made their way to Vin Scully Avenue. They managed to block that main entrance to Dodger Stadium, while the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were being honored on the field around 6 p.m. PST. There was a heavy police presence at and around Dodger Stadium, especially near Vin Scully Avenue.
Fans offer support during Dodgers Pride Night
As protests went on outside Dodger Stadium, fans inside offered support for the Sisters and Dodgers Pride Night.
The Dodgers’ decision to disinvite the Sisters upset Long Beach, California, resident Debra Madsen so much, Madsen decided to send the organization a letter. Madsen wasn’t pleased with the Dodgers’ decision and didn’t hear back from them but was happy the Sisters were reinvited.
“They shouldn’t bend to pressure from people in out-of-state-places,” Madsen said, discussing what the letter included. “When I found out that (Clayton) Kershaw was also not in favor then that made more sense”
Madsen, like other fans, emphasized that the group is misunderstood, which can be avoided through people researching what they do.
Chino, California, resident Curtis Dimof added that the Dodgers have the prerogative to decide if they’d like to invite the Sisters or not. Dimof disagreed with the organization being pressured into making a decision and with protesters coming outside the stadium.
“As I was driving in, there was a whole bunch of protesters at the entrance, yeah. It was interesting,” Dimof said. “And the other side too, it’s like what difference does it make to y’all if the Dodgers want to do a Pride Night? Just everybody needs to leave each other alone.”
Southern California resident Gabriel Baldovino agreed. Baldovino emphasized a mindset of loving whoever you love, similar to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Baldovino pointed to the Sisters’ philanthropy and charity work as what people should be caring about rather than protesting. A Catholic, Baldovino didn’t support the Catholics for Catholics procession and protesters outside.
“My thoughts is like ‘Why does it matter?’” Baldovina said. “We should be focusing on the good part, not just create controversy just to create controversy.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dodgers Pride Night draws protests, but also supportive fans
Source: Yahoo Sports