BOSTON, MA The Boston Red Sox announced today that they will produce an "It Gets Better" video, becoming the third team in professional sports in a week to join the campaign in taking a stand against anti-gay bullying and homophobia. More than 9,000 people -- mostly Red Sox fans in New England -- signed 12-year-old Sam Maden's Change,org petition to the Red Sox, which he started in honor of his Uncle Chris, who died unexpectedly in January at the age of 43.
"We are proud of dedicated Red Sox fans like 12-year-old Sam Maden who have taken the courageous step of publicly standing up against bullying of LGBT youth," said Susan Goodenow, Senior Vice President/Public Affairs and Marketing for the Red Sox, in a statement. "The Red Sox have frequently done PSA videos, or public service announcement videos, on important social issues. We are currently producing an "It Gets Better" video to support the It Gets Better campaign to stop bullying of LGBT youth and teen suicides. We hope that when it is released it will both reflect our continued commitment to be active participants in the community and help advance the efforts of Sam and others to stop bullying. Our team stands for respect and inclusion there is no place for discrimination or acts of hatred in Red Sox Nation."
Sam Maden's effort began after his seventh-grade teacher recently asked him to come up with a project that could "make a difference" in the world. Sam decided to merge his love for the Red Sox with a cause his uncle believed in passionately: ending the bullying of gay kids and kids perceived to be gay. Inspired by news that the San Francisco Giants had responded to a fan's petition on Change.org by announcing they would become the first pro sports team to create an "It Gets Better" anti-bullying video, Sam decided to ask his favorite team -- the Red Sox -- to make a video as well.
Sam, who currently plays on three baseball teams and was invited by the Red Sox to shout "Play Ball!" before a sold-out crowd at Fenway Park, thinks a video from the team will be a milestone in professional sports.
"When I found out about my uncle's passing, I didn't know what to do," Sam Maden said. "This is something I can do to honor him. Uncle Chris knew how much I love the Red Sox and I think he would have been thrilled with the team making an 'It Gets Better' video to support kids."
In addition to Sam Maden's petition, more than 30 sports fans from around the country have launched petitions on the Change,.org platform urging their favorite sports teams to produce videos as well. The Giants responded with the first "It Gets Better" video in pro sports after lifelong fan Sean Chapin started a petition on Change.org supported by more than 6,000 fans and four mayoral candidates. On Friday, the Chicago Cubs announced they would become the second team to join the "It Gets Better" project after Cubs fan Joe Hinton launched a petition on Change.org .
More than 10,000 "It Gets Better" videos have been produced since syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller launched the project in September 2010, in response to an epidemic of teen suicides by gay kids and kids perceived to be gay. Through "It Gets Better" videos, President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and corporations like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Pixar and other major organizations and leaders have provided hope to kids struggling with sexual orientation and gender identity.
View Sam Maden's Change.org petition to the Red Sox: