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Although four different petitions can be found circulating from the change.org website urging the San Diego Padres to join the "It Gets Better" project, the team has found an alternative way to show their emerging support of the LGBT community.
On the heels of the All-Star break and in the final days leading up to San Diego's 37th annual Pride celebration, the Padres have announced they support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth (LGBT) and have signed a pledge with the national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to prove it.
The Padres signed GLSEN's Team Respect Challenge.
The Team Respect Challenge is part of Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project, a national program launched earlier this year. The brainchild of Pat Griffin, who is a pioneer in the world of LGBT sports herself, the project seeks to make K-12 athletics and physical education safe and inclusive for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
"As baseball comes back from the break, the San Diego Padres have made it clear who the real all-stars are by signing on to GLSEN's Team Respect Challenge," said Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN. "From the pros to the playgrounds, far too many athletes seem to think that disrespectful language and behavior are just part of the game. The Padres have sent a clear message to youth everywhere: Name-calling and harassment of any kind is not acceptable and teams perform best when every teammate is safe and respected."
The text of the Team Respect Pledge signed by the Padres:
We, the San Diego Padres, pledge to commit to respect, safety and inclusion for all members of our team and community. We pledge to take leadership by setting an example of respectful interactions for all.
We pledge to:
Avoid using language, name-calling or slurs that put others down because of such differences as race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression or religion.
Remind teammates who use "put down" language that "that's not ok on our team."
Treat all teammates with respect.
Believe that Team Respect is a winning strategy: When each team member feels safe and respected, they can play their best for the team.
Take leadership to set an example of respect for our team and fans as well as opposing teams and fans.
The pledge echoes the recently adopted anti-bullying policy by the San Diego Unified School District.
"We applaud the Padres for signing this pledge, and we hope that the students involved in athletic teams throughout the District follow their great example," said San Diego Unified School District Superintendent, Bill Kowba. "We are committed to providing all students with a safe learning environment, free from all forms of bullying, including sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. In this regard, the Padres have proven themselves to be valuable role models for San Diego students."