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CMSA refusing donations from Spyners after racist message
2020-06-04

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Two days after the owner/general manager of Lincoln Square spot Spyners received major pushback on social media for what many said was a racist message, a local LGBTQ sports organization condemned the post—and said it will not accept future donations from the bar.

Moreover, the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) announced it will donate past sponsorship funds from Spyners to the South Side LGBTQ organization Brave Space Alliance.

The letter—from CMSA President Matt Herek to the organization's 3,000 members—is as follows:

Dear CMSA community,

These past days have brought into sharp focus the overt and covert racism that exists in our society. As much as many of us would like to believe CMSA is above these behaviors, the unfortunate truth is that we are not.

Earlier this week, the owner of Spyners, a longtime sponsor of our sports, expressed thoughts on social media that were inexcusable. The words that were chosen were repugnant.

Upon reviewing Spyners involvement with CMSA during the 2019-20 seasons, we found that they sponsored a team in one of our sports. The board of directors has elected to immediately donate these funds to the Brave Space Alliance—the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center located on the South Side of Chicago. The board has also decided to supplement these funds for a total donation of $1,000.

CMSA will not accept future sponsorship dollars or hold official events at Spyners. The board is considering additional actions as well.

We cannot allow these actions to be the last word on addressing racism within CMSA. Many of us are aware of times in the past where members of color were made to feel unwelcome or unsafe participating in our leagues. We have worked to resolve many of the incidents that were brought to our attention, but it is a fair criticism that our resolutions have at times been inconsistent.

As we begin charting our return to the fields, we will address more than the health and safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will create a proactive plan to provide resources, training, and standards that create a welcoming and safe environment for all athletes, but especially athletes of color.

This will be challenging and take time. We will work to get it right, and we may have some missteps along the way. We welcome our membership to hold us accountable by letting us know where we are falling short now and where we have fallen short in the past.

Finally, for those times that any member of CMSA has felt unwelcome, unsafe or attacked because of who you are—we are sorry. We will set a higher standard for our board of directors, our sport leaders and our athletes in the future.

Ultimately, there is more in a human being to celebrate than to disparage. Our goal is to prove that.

Sincerely,

Matt Herek

CMSA President


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