SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants will follow in the footsteps of President Barack Obama, pop star Janet Jackson and more than 10,000 others who have made videos for an anti-suicide campaign geared toward gay youth, the team said recently.
The World Series champions agreed on Tuesday to produce a YouTube spot for the “It Gets Better” campaign at the request of a fan who started an online petition signed by 6,000 people.
Seattle writer Dan Savage launched the “It Gets Better” project last year amid several highly publicized suicides by gay teenagers. It provides messages of hope to counter the despair of bullied or rejected teens.
Meanwhile, Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said his group is in discussions with Major League Baseball about getting players to participate in an anti-bullying PSA campaign expected to premiere during the back-to-school season.
“Sports teams adding their voice to the chorus of fair-minded people in this country who are calling for an end to bullying and violence against gay people are particularly impactful,” Barrios said. “Their audiences are the people, primarily young men, we most need to bring on as supporters of fair treatment of gay people.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, employees at Apple and the vice president of the European Union all have contributed videos to the “It Gets Better” effort.
British rugby star Gareth Thomas also made a video, but the Giants are thought to be the first professional team to participate, said Sean Chapin, the Giants fan who petitioned the team through the online site Change.org.
“If every pro sports team joined the Giants in taking a stand against homophobia and anti-gay bullying by making these videos, it would have a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of kids and their families,” “Chapin said. “It would also contribute to a safer playing environment for gay athletes, from high school to professional sports.”
The Giants have not decided who will appear in the team’s video or what it will say, spokeswoman Staci Slaughter said in a statement.
After Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant used an anti-gay slur over a referee’s call last month, Bryant and four other players appeared in a public service announcement about respecting diversity that was played at Staples Center.
The World Wrestling Entertainment network also has produced PSA spots on the topic after a wrestler used several anti-gay taunts.