LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw says he disagrees with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to welcome a satirical LGBTQ+ group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the team’s annual Pride Night.
Kershaw told The Los Angeles Times on Monday that the team’s decision to honor the group after it rescinded its original invitation prompted him to approach the Dodgers about expediting the announcement that the team was bringing back Christian Faith and Family Day later this season.
“I think we were always going to do Christian Faith Day this year, but I think the timing of our announcement was sped up,” Kershaw said. “Picking a date and doing those different things was part of it as well. Yes, it was in response to the highlighting of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (by the Dodgers).”
Kershaw announced via Twitter last Friday that Christian Faith and Family Day will be held July 30 when the Dodgers face the Cincinnati Reds. The last time the Dodgers held it was 2019.
Kershaw, who has been with the organization since being drafted in 2006, said his issues were with the Sisters and not the LGBTQ+ community. He also added the he will not boycott Pride Night on June 16 when the Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants.
“This has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community or Pride or anything like that,” said Kershaw, who held a players-only meeting in the clubhouse before Monday’s game. “This is simply a group that was making fun of a religion, that I don’t agree with.”
The Dodgers rescinded their original invitation to the Sisters on May 17 after receiving backlash from some conservative Roman Catholics and politicians, including Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who accused the group of mocking nuns and the Christian faith.
However, the Dodgers’ decision sparked its own backlash from LGBTQ+ groups around the country, with some deciding to pull out of Pride Night. The Dodgers reversed their decision five days later and welcomed them back.
The Sisters, a group of mainly men who dress as nuns, is a charity, protest and performance group founded in 1979 in San Francisco. Its Los Angeles chapter will receive the Community Hero Award.
The group denied it was anti-Catholic. On its website, the group said it uses “humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
Trevor Williams, a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, also criticized the Dodgers on Tuesday, posting a statement on Twitter saying he was “deeply troubled” by the decision.
The Nationals are in Los Angeles this week to face the Dodgers.
“To invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of over 4 million people in Los Angeles county alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization,” Williams wrote on his account to his more than 43,000 followers.
“Creating an environment in which one group feels celebrated and honored at the expense of another is counterproductive and wrong. It is a clear violation of the Dodgers’ Discrimination Policy, which explicitly states that any conduct or attire at the ballpark that is deemed to be indecent or prejudice against any particular group (or religion) is not tolerated.”
Pride Nights have caused some division on the sports landscape in recent years. Last season, five pitchers with the Tampa Bay Rays cited their Christian faith in refusing to wear Pride jerseys.
Also on Tuesday, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass apologized for expressing support on social media for anti-LGBTQ+ boycotts of Target and Bud Light.
During the recent NHL regular season, seven players opted out of wearing rainbow-colored jerseys on their teams’ Pride nights. The Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild did not wear rainbow warmup jerseys after doing so in previous seasons.