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How New York teams are celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month

A LGBT Network banner is presented and shown

A LGBT Network banner is presented and shown on the video board on Pride Night before an MLB baseball game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

June marks LGBTQ Pride Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ community and its history. This year’s Pride Month is especially relevant as it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, when members of the LGBTQ community fought back against police harassment in Greenwich Village.

Read how New York teams are celebrating Pride Month with rainbow-themed decor, special jerseys and gameday events, among other things.

YANKEES

In September 2018, the Yankees announced the Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative, which will provide $50,000 worth of scholarships to five graduating seniors from New York City Public Schools. These recipients will be honored on June 25 at a pre-game ceremony at Yankee Stadium. The New York City Department of Education chose one scholarship recipient from each borough.

"Through this initiative we are proud to recognize the profound historical impact of Stonewall and celebrate the many meaningful contributions of the LGBTQ community," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a news release last year. "The Yankees wholeheartedly support equality for all individuals and applaud any efforts which make our society more inclusive and tolerant. It is our hope that this scholarship program will serve as a springboard for young LGBTQ student community members and advocates as they continue the pursuit of their dreams, ambitions and livelihoods."

The Yankees are not having a “Pride Night.” Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo told Outsports earlier this year that the June 25 game and events leading up to it "are designed to shine a light on the LGBT community using layers of activation, designed to support and showcase diversity and inclusion."

METS

The Mets will not hold a formal Pride event in June, but the team will host a Pride Night on Aug. 10. A portion of each ticket sold for Citi Field’s Pride Night will benefit the LGBT Network and its Safe School Initiatives to stop bullying in Long Island and Queens.

LIBERTY

The Liberty will be hosting a Pride Night on June 28 at Westchester County Center. There will be a pregame fan festival, and the first 2,000 fans will be given a “#LoveLoud” bandana, according to team spokeswoman Alesia Howard.

The Liberty’s Twitter account changed its icon to a graphic incorporating rainbow colors – a nod to the Pride flag – with the team’s logo.

RED BULLS

The Red Bulls' Pride Night will be held June 28 at Red Bull Arena. The team is partnering with Pride Live, and $3 from each ticket sold will be donated to the organization. The first 750 fans to purchase tickets online will receive a pride-themed scarf, and the first 10,000 fans to enter the arena will be given a pair of sunglasses, according to a press release.

NYC FC

The New York City Football Club held its Pride Night on June 6 at Yankee Stadium. The organization donated a portion of each ticket bought online to support a local LGBTQ organization, according to the team’s website.

Fans were given a $5 ticket discount with the code “PRIDE,” and athletes wore rainbow-patterned jerseys for the first time in organization history. The jerseys will be donated to a Pride-related group, team spokeswoman Amanda Marston said. Team captain Alex Ring wore a rainbow armband during the game, and the team will wear rainbow warmup jerseys for the month of June, according to the team’s website.  

The team honored many members of the LGBTQ community throughout the game, and Tonewall, an a capella group of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, sang the national anthem. The club’s Twitter account also changed its icon to a graphic incorporating rainbow colors with the team’s logo.

Additionally, the club partnered with Athlete Ally, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ athletes and sports. The nonprofit hosted a panel before the game, and Athlete Ally founder and executive director Hudson Taylor served as a moderator to lead a discussion on LGBTQ inclusion and advocacy, Marston said.

KNICKS

On June 1, the Knicks and Rangers teamed up with the Hetrick-Martin Institute and the Kiki Coalition, working to incorporate basketball and street hockey into their Youth Pride Fest, team spokesperson Ryan Watson said. Both groups focus on LGBTQ community mobilization.

On June 30, Knicks staff and alumni will participate in the NYC Pride March alongside the NBA’s float, Watson said. The Knicks held an in-season Pride Night on March 30.

NETS

Some players and employees from the front office will participate in the NYC Pride March on the NBA’s float, team spokeswoman Mandy Gutmann said. Barclays Center will host the march’s opening ceremonies.

The Nets hosted their in-season Pride Night on Jan. 23. A portion of the ticket sales were donated to the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative. Brooklyn Brewery Stonewall Inn beer was sold, and the proceeds were given to the Initiative as well, Gutmann said.

Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player, presented Inn owners with awards during the game against the Orlando Magic. Collins played for the Nets from 2001 to 2007 and again in the 2013-14 season in Brooklyn. He came out as gay after the 2012-13 season.

ISLANDERS

The Islanders held Pride Night on Jan. 13 during the regular season. It is unclear if the team will be holding any events during Pride Month itself, as a team spokesperson did not yet respond to an email inquiry.

RANGERS

In June, the Rangers will send an unspecified team alumnus to the NYC Gay Hockey Association Chelsea Challenge, a tournament banquet taking place from June 21 to 23. On June 30, a variety of players, coaches, alumni, staff and season ticket holders will be representing the Rangers at the NYC Pride March, team spokesman Michael Rappaport said.

The Rangers held Pride Night on Jan. 15 during the regular season. The Rangers wrapped their sticks in rainbow tape during pregame warmups, and the sticks were later available for purchase. The proceeds benefited the You Can Play Project, an organization working to ensure safety in sports, including members of the LGBTQ community.

GIANTS AND JETS

The Giants and Jets will be helping to sponsor the Gay Bowl XIX, which will be held in Manhattan on Oct. 10-13. Giants spokesman Dion Dargin said the team has sponsored a team in the New York Gay Flag Football League for several years.

The Giants also donated an autographed football from running back Saquon Barkley in support of Pride Live, a local non-profit LGBTQ organization, to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Dargin said.

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