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NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA and NASCAR join GLAAD's Spirit Day on Friday

As we've said over and over, the sports world has transformed. In an unprecedented development, all of the major pro sports leagues in the United States have agreed to be part of GLAAD's Spirit Day on Friday. This would have never happened 10 years ago. From GLAAD:

In an unprecedented show of support, GLAAD today announced that the six most prominent American major sports leagues -- The National Basketball Association (NBA) / Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS) and NASCAR's diversity program -- will all ‘go purple’ for Spirit Day on Friday, October 19, in a stand against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. The six leagues will send messages on Spirit Day to bullied LGBT youth via Twitter and Facebook.

The leagues join athletes like Shaquille O'Neal and Terrell Owens who have already pledged to ‘go purple,’ and sports organizations, including the GLAAD Amplifier Award-winning "You Can Play" project, GLAAD partner Athlete Ally, GO! Athletes, and UK Rugby champion Ben Cohen's Stand Up Foundation. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), like the NBA, will be taking part in Spirit Day for the second consecutive year. USA Track & Field will also participate by providing support through social media.

Outsports has also gone purple on Twitter and Facebook. We hope you'll join us!

GLAAD has long tried to find its voice in the sports world. They've had fits and starts over the last 10 years, but they are now hitting their stride. Aaron McQuade at GLAAD has become a fierce advocate for sports within the organization, and he is making great inroads, including this powerful group of Spirit Day supporters.

While this likely won't change the attitudes of homophobes, what Spirit Day does is offer hope to those kids who feel alone. I interviewed one of them -- a former college baseball player -- last week. That feeling of isolation is very real, and this initiative does help.

Last year the NBA was the only league to join GLAAD's Spirit Day, but the others were not asked to be part of it. Aaron McQuade said he had talked to someone in MLB last year, but that person was not in the correct department and couldn't help.