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Will the Head of Baseball Stand Against Discrimination?

Will the Head of Baseball Stand Against Discrimination?

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Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and the head of the MLB's player association are being asked to protect gay players and staff members against discrimination.

Rafael McDonnell, communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center Dallas, is also asking for teams to individually add gender identity and gender expression to their own in-house policies, as each clubhouse has different policies when dealing with discrimination. In an open letter to Selig and Michael Weiner, McDonnell said adding sexual orientation protections for would send "a strong signal to the league's LGBT fans that they are supported and affirmed, since professional sports have been described as one of the last bastions of homophobia."

Several baseball teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox, have released videos for the It Gets Better Project, and many teams have held LGBT fan nights. Selig has also condemned antigay language on the field and players have been fined for using homophobic slurs. However, Selig is being called out by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center for his scheduled keynote speech at Wednesday night's annual Boy Scouts of America's gala in L.A.

"Ironically, the Boy Scouts of America Los Angeles Area Council touts their event as one that is 'making an investment in character' and is themed 'Character Counts," the center's CEO Lorri L. Jean said in a statement Tuesday. "Investing in homophobia or discrimination of any kind is anything but an investment in character! At a time when bullying in schools is a major issue facing our country's youth, to support an organization that promotes discrimination against youth only fuels the fire of bullies. If he delivers his keynote address as planned, we implore Mr. Selig to tell the Boy Scouts of America that people of true character welcome diversity and accept all for who they are."

Major League Soccer was the first professional league to add protections for gay players in 2004, and the pro-Hockey followed in 2005. This year, the NFL adopted a nondiscrimination policy to protect employees on the basis of "race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity, or lack of activity." Men's and women's professional basketball, and the MLB currently do not declare sexual orientation as a protected class.

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