The Cardinals are ready for Pride Night — and it's happening in 2017.
Last night, after controversy erupted over the team scheduling former player and anti-LGBT speaker Lance Berkman to speak at "Christian Day
" at Busch Stadium, the club issued a statement saying that it will, in fact, host its first-ever night devoted to LGBTQ fans this year.
Responding to calls from the Viva Los Birdos blog
, the team had previously indicated that it was "actively planning" such a night, and that it would happen no later than 2018.
That timeline just moved up. In a statement given to KSDK and other news outlets
, the Cardinals are now saying that Pride Night will, in fact, take place in 2017. "We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our first Pride Night later this season (details to follow shortly) which will bring members of the LGBT Community together to enjoy Cardinals baseball," the club said.
But despite their commitment to rolling out the welcome mat for gay fans, the Cardinals aren't backing down from hosting Berkman. In its statement, the team explains how Christian Day typically highlights a well-known speaker, usually a former Cardinal or athlete, to discuss his or her experience practicing Christianity in the public sphere.
"Lance Berkman participated in Christian Day when he was a Cardinals player, and we welcome him back this year to discuss his faith," the statement reads.
Berkman is an outspoken advocate against LGBT rights
, campaigning against Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance and telling a Houston radio show "to me, tolerance is the virtue that's killing this country" after the ordinance failed to pass.
You can see the statement in its entirety below and on KSDK
The Cardinals have hosted a Christian Day at the ballpark for nearly three decades. The post-game event usually features a well-known keynote speaker (often a former Cardinal or professional athlete) who talks about his or her experience of being a practicing Christian in the public arena. Lance Berkman participated in Christian Day when he was a Cardinals player, and we welcome him back this year to discuss his faith.
As an organization, the Cardinals have always been committed to bringing like-minded groups together to share in the unifying experience of Cardinals baseball. We are an inclusive organization with a social responsibility to be welcoming to all types of people and organizations. We continue to try and reach out to every part of our community, and have hosted a variety of themed events like Christian Day, Jewish Community Night, Catholic Family Night, Bosnian Heritage Night, Fiesta Cardenales, and many others. We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our first Pride Night later this season (details to follow shortly) which will bring members of the LGBT Community together to enjoy Cardinals baseball.