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Boston Red Sox, prodded by 12-year-old boy, to produce an 'It Gets Better' video

Sam Maden and his late uncle Chris Nutile

The Boston Red Sox have announced they will produce an anti-bullying "It Gets Better" video. The Red Sox will be the third Major League Baseball team to do so; the San Francisco Giants released theirs last week and the Chicago Cubs announced Friday they will produce one.

The Red Sox were inspired by a petition campaign started by 12-year-old Sam Maden of Nashua, N.H., who was doing a class project on helping to make the world a better place. His idea was motivated by the memory of his gay uncle, 43, who died recently. From the Boston Globe:

“The Red Sox are my favorite team, and when I saw the Giants were doing it, I really wanted to get them to do it too,” Maden said. “I see kids who are bullies, I see them everyday. I do what I can to get them to stop, and I thought this might make it better.”

Maden’s idea was inspired by the unexpected death of his 43-year-old uncle Chris Nutile, who was gay, and died suddenly while traveling abroad in January.

“My brother would visit and he would often educate my children about causes important to him, he was a huge humanitarian,” said Tara Maden, Sam’s mother.

“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.”

Sam collected 9,244 signatures on a petition and the Red Sox readily agreed to make the video.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston has more background on Sam and his late uncle:

Nutile was gay, and one of the causes he was most passionate about was the Trevor Project, a crisis and suicide prevention counseling service for youth, especially members of the LGBT community. At Pennichuck Middle School, where Sam is a seventh grader, time is set aside for the kids to do something to make a difference. Sam and a couple of his buddies organized a bike-a-thon for the Trevor Project, and raised $800.

Nutile would have been proud, of course, had he lived. But he was in Brazil this past winter during the devastating mudslides that struck that country, and in January the family was notified by the U.S. consulate that he had been killed, although the circumstances of his death, Tara said, have never been fully explained. Nutile was 43.

As for whom Sam wants to see in the Red Sox video, he told Edes: "I would like to see Dustin Pedroia in it because he is my favorite player and Jason Varitek because he is the captain of the team and seen as the leader of the Red Sox,'' he said.

You would be hard-pressed to find a cooler story than this in sports. Young Sam hit a grand slam with his idea.