Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams tore into Kershaw’s Los Angeles Dodgers for scheduling a Pride Night event that will include a popular satirical drag troupe.
The Dodgers this month rescinded their invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to the team’s annual LGBTQ Pride event on June 16 before they did a second 180 and reinvited the decades-old charitable group of performers, who describe themselves as a "leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns."
But rather than put the dispute to bed, the Dodgers' invitation, rejection and re-engagement with the Sisters apparently has sparked anger in the two high-profile players, who believe the group is anti-Catholic.
"As a devout Catholic, I am deeply troubled by the Dodgers' decision to re-invite and honor the group 'The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence' at their Pride Night this year," Williams said in a statement Tuesday. "To invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of over 4 million people in Los Angeles county alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization."
The Christian event was regularly held at Dodger Stadium, with Kershaw as a primary organizer, through 2019. It hadn't been held since the pandemic, and Kershaw said he set on relaunching it this year — speeding up the planning once the team went forward with Pride Night with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
“I think we were always going to do Christian Faith Day this year, but I think the timing of our announcement was sped up,” Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times this week. “Picking a date and doing those different things was part of it, as well. Yes, it was in response to the highlighting of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” by the Dodgers.
Kershaw, a sure-fire Hall of Fame left-handed pitcher, insisted he has no other issue with the LGBTQ community and won't boycott his team's June 16 game against the San Francisco Giants.
“This has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community or Pride or anything like that,” said Kershaw, a native of suburban Dallas. “This is simply a group that was making fun of a religion — that I don’t agree with.”
Williams went a step further than Kershaw and called for Catholics to think twice about backing the Dodgers, one of the oldest and most storied franchises in baseball.
"I also encourage my fellow Catholics to reconsider their support of an organization that allows this type of mockery of its fans to occur," said Williams, a native of San Diego. "I know I am not alone in my frustration, hurt, and disappointment about this situation."
A representative for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence declined to comment specifically on the players’ remarks, saying it's not the group's "place to comment on the personal opinion of these brilliant athletes."
"Our mission is to help those in need and provide service and aid to the LGBTQ community,” Sister Dominia, the abbess of the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, said as she read a prepared statement over the phone. “We accepted our nomination to the L.A. Dodgers for their recognition of our 27 years of service to Los Angles and the LGBTQ+ people. We thank the Dodgers for their support.”
Sister Dominia also expressed gratitude that Kershaw isn’t boycotting the Pride Night game, calling his decision "very Christian."
"Neighbors are neighbors," she said. "He has his beliefs. It’s OK. I’m not mad about anything. It’s all good.”
On Tuesday, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass apologized for asking consumers and his social media followers not to patronize companies that support LGBTQ rights, such as Target and Anheuser-Busch, which makes Bud Light.
“I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine,” Bass said in a statement he read to reporters before Toronto's game against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. “I am truly sorry for that.”
Bass said he spoke to teammates about his social media post and promised to "educate myself."
“As of right now, I am using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward,” said Bass, a native of suburban Detroit. “The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark. We want to welcome everybody. That’s all I have to say.”
A representative for Major League Baseball could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday, and a spokesman for the MLB Players Association, the union representing players, declined to discuss the matter.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com