Out with Chick-fil-A and in with the rainbow jerseys.
The Staten Island Yankees severed their partnership with the anti-LGBTQ fast food chain, according to the Pride Center of Staten Island, and instead unveiled plans to wear jerseys with rainbow-colored pinstripes on Pride night August 30.
The team announced on August 20 that players are slated to wear the jerseys during the team’s matchup against the Hudson Valley Renegades at 7 p.m. on the final Friday of the month. The team is offering a $20 Pride night package featuring a ticket and voucher for a rainbow-colored Staten Island Yankees hat, and half of the proceeds from those packages will benefit the Pride Center of Staten Island. Folks can use the promo code “Pride19” to receive the voucher that can be used to pick up the hat.
You Can Play, an organization that promotes inclusion in sports and has worked with dozens of minor league clubs on their Pride night promotions this season, will sponsor the rainbow jerseys. At least one of the game-worn rainbow-colored jerseys will be auctioned off after the game and those proceeds will benefit You Can Play.
Sarah Kogod, who works for You Can Play, told Gay City News that she came up with the idea of the rainbow-colored jerseys during a brainstorming session with team officials earlier this season.
“I never thought I would get a yes, but I got an immediate yes,” Kogod explained. “It was such a no brainer for them.”
The team has hosted Pride night since 2015, but the organization appeared poised to shake things up this time around after a wave of negative publicity — including from the Pride Center — ensued following the team’s announcement of a season-long deal with Chick-fil-A, which has become notorious for shelling out donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations. The team’s original plans entailed giving away a free chicken sandwich to fans every time the Yankees hit a walk-off home run this season, but they apparently scrapped that deal after public outcry emerged.
Representatives from the Pride Center said they met with the Staten Island Yankees to clear the air, and the Chick-fil-A deal was subsequently terminated. The team did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the Chick-fil-A deal.
“I received communication from them that they ended their partnership prior to the end of the contract period,” Carol Bullock, the executive director of the Pride Center, told Gay City News over the phone on August 21. “For us, the point was any organization that continues to partner with another organization that works against everything that we do is doing the same thing.”
With the Chick-fil-A partnership in the rear-view mirror, folks at the Pride Center and LGBTQ baseball fans across the borough hope that the Pride night game will mark the beginning of a clean slate.
“Because the partnership is now dissolved, we’re happy to celebrate Pride night,” Bullock said.
In a written statement, the Pride Center encouraged fans to attend the game and show support for the team and the LGBTQ community on Staten Island, saying, “It’s sure to be a fun evening of inclusion and hopefully a win for the home team.”
There will also be fireworks after the game as well as a “Broadway at the Ballpark” promotion featuring special performances during the game. The first 1,000 fans will get a Staten Island Yankees 20th anniversary poster.