MLB responds to controversial Arizona bill

Mike Stobe

MLB released a statement Wednesday afternoon responding to the controversial Arizona bill that would give citizens the legal ability to restrict services to gay people.

Major League Baseball issued a statement today via Twitter in response to the controversial Arizona Senate Bill 1062 that would give the people of Arizona the legal right to restrict services to gay people and others based on their religious beliefs.

MLB's Public Relations department stated:

As the sport of Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs stand united behind the principles of respect, inclusion and acceptance. Those values are fundamental to our game's diverse players, employees, and fans. We welcome individuals of different sexual orientations, races, religions, genders and national origins.

MLB has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation, as reflected by our collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association. Accordingly, MLB will neither support nor tolerate any words, attitudes or actions that imperil the inclusive communities that we have strived to foster within our game.

The bill was sent to Arizona governor Jan Brewer's desk Monday after initially being introduced to the state's Senate on Jan. 14. Brewer has until Friday to veto the bill before it automatically becomes a law.

The topic of gay rights has become especially relevant in the sports world in recent weeks. Jason Collins, who came out during the NBA offseason, recently signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets and became the first openly gay athlete to appear in a game for one of the four American major sports leagues. In addition, Michael Sam, a former University of MIssouri defensive end and the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year, came out publicly in early February ahead of the NFL Draft.

While no current MLB player has publicly come out, the league still felt compelled to issue a statement regarding the bill in Arizona. The Diamondbacks, of course, play in Arizona, so the bill could have an impact on at least one of Major League Baseball's clubs if it were to become a law.

That hasn't happened yet, however. With its statement Wednesday, MLB made it quite clear that the league is in opposition to the bill.

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