America's Sports Teams 'Go Purple' To Fight Homophobic Bullying
Tomorrow's Spirit Day is going to be huge this year. GLAAD announced this afternoon that all six major American sports leagues — the NBA, the NFL, the NHL, Major League Baseball teams, Major League Soccer and Nascar's diversity program — are all participating in the annual event to help combat bullying.
In addition to "going purple" by adopting the day's official color, the various teams and organizations will be using their social media outlets to send pro-inclusion tweets, updates and other messages of support.
"From sports leagues to faith institutions to national monuments, schools and celebrities, millions of Americans will unite this week in an unprecedented show of support for LGBT youth and in a stand against bullying," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick in a press release. "At a time when 8 out of 10 LGBT youth report being harassed at school, it’s now more important than ever that we let every young person know that it’s okay to be who you are."
But it's not just sports teams who are spreading the Spirit Day love. All of Viacom's brands and channels, including MTV, VH1 and BET, are participating, as are NBC Universal's holdings and television hosts on Access Hollywood, E! News and Chelsea Handler will wear purple on Chelsea Lately. And that's really just the tip of the iceberg: the entire list is basically a solar system of celebrities, something that would have been unheard of in the not-so-distant past.
Still no word on whether President Obama and Mitt Romney will heed Katy Butler's call and "go purple" as well, but you sure should. And supporters are also being encouraged to donate to GLAAD, the education-focused GLSEN and suicide prevention group The Trevor Project by texting "purple" to 80888.
I've included all the details AFTER THE JUMP.
NEW YORK, NY, October 18, 2012 – In an unprecedented show of support, GLAAD today announced that the six most prominent American major sports leagues -- The National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), 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), which 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.
For a full list of participants, anti-bullying resource kit for students and parents as well as Spirit Day digital apps visit http://glaad.org/spiritday and follow #SpiritDay
“From sports leagues to faith institutions to national monuments, schools and celebrities, millions of Americans will unite this week in an unprecedented show of support for LGBT youth and in a stand against bullying,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “At a time when 8 out of 10 LGBT youth report being harassed at school, it’s now more important than ever that we let every young person know that it’s okay to be who you are.”
Country music icon Reba McEntire and Country Music Television (CMT) will join MTV, VH1, Logo and BET, as well as Latin music icon Ricky Martin, pop sensation Fun., Grammy Award-winning R&B recording artist Brandy Norwood, teen music star Aaron Carter, country music star Chely Wright, Broadway legend Bernadette Peters and EGOT Rita Moreno in ‘going purple’ for Spirit Day on October 19. For additional celebrities see below or visit: http://www.glaad.org/spiritday/entertainment
Viacom’s brands will be participating on-air, online, through social media and employee engagement efforts. MTV, VH1, Logo, TV Land and TeenNick will turn on-air logos purple on Spirit Day; MTV, VH1 and Logo will turn online logos purple as well and support through social media, VH1.com, LogoTV.com and NewNowNext.com, which will be posting feature stories and never-before-seen "It Gets Better" clips. MTV will turn its 44 ½ high-definition screen in Times Square purple for the day. The cast of TeenNick’s ‘Degrassi’ and ‘Victorious’ star Avan Jogia will be wearing purple and Viacom, BET, CMT and Paramount Pictures will also support the day through social media. MTV stars, including ‘Jersey Shore’ cast members DJ Pauly D, Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley, Sammi Giancola and Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi will also participate.
Comcast and NBCUniversal will participate including NBC owned stations, Telemundo network and owned stations. Hosts of “Access Hollywood,” CNBC, “Chelsea Lately,” and E! News, among others, will wear purple.
The Sundance Channel will also participate by turning its on-air and web logos purple for Spirit Day on October 19. Additionally, the network will go purple on its social media pages and share photos of Sundance staff in their Spirit Day purple.
The 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign' will be turned purple and several hotels on the Las Vegas strip will light their marquees purple with an anti-bullying message, GLAAD previously announced with R&R Partners Foundation. In addition, the Duke Energy Tower in Charlotte, NC will join the New York Stock Exchange, Thomson Reuters’ Times Square screen, the LAX Pylon Lights and JFK traffic tower in lighting up purple for Spirit Day on October 19.
Hosts of ‘Good Morning America’ will wear purple on the October 19 show. ‘Watch What Happens Live’ host Andy Cohen will also wear purple for Spirit Day on the October 18 program. Hosts of “Access Hollywood,” CNBC, “Chelsea Lately,” “E! News,” “Extra,” “The Talk,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and “The Wendy Williams Show” will also wear purple on the air for Spirit Day. Host of ‘Extra,’ Maria Menounos, will join previously announced celebrity participants including Dianna Agron, Perez Hilton, Avan Jogia, Shay Mitchell, Shaquille O’Neal, George Takei and Wendy Williams as a Spirit Day Ambassador.
American Apparel, the vertically integrated clothing manufacturer based in downtown Los Angeles, launched a Spirit Day store featuring the company’s purple clothing items. Spirit Day supporters will receive a special 10% discount on the purple items by using the promo code ‘SPIRIT’ at check out. American Apparel will also donate 10% of all ‘purple proceeds’ to GLAAD.
Each year GLAAD coordinates hundreds of national and local organizations, schools, celebrities, media, sports leagues, corporations, parishes, faith groups and landmarks. GLAAD is also working with gay teen Katy Butler who is calling for President Obama and Governor Romney to wear purple on Friday. Her Change.org petition has garnered thousands of signatures: http://glaad.org/purple2012. Earlier this year, Katy launched a Change.org petition to call on the MPAA to change the rating of the documentary BULLY.
Additionally, celebrities including Chad Allen, Juliette Angelo, Louis Van Amstel, Bryan Batt, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Chaz Bono, Brandy, Bailey Buntain, Keenan Cahill, Kristin Cavallari, ‘Quan T. Chanteur, Crystal Chappell, Preston Charles, Christian Chavez, Derek Chavez, Margaret Cho, Mario Cimarro, Andy Cohen, Ron Corning, Andres Cuervo, Bianca and Chiara D’Ambrosio, the cast of Days of Our Lives, the cast of Degrassi, Heather Doerksen, Fran Drescher, Elvis Duran, Carmen Electra, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Craig Ferguson, Ray Ford, Fun., Stephen Fry, Rose Garcia, Teresa Giudice, Tony Goldwyn, Greer Grammer, Renee Graziano, Kathy Griffin, Damien Haas, Randy Harrison, Paris Hilton, Perez Hilton, Lisa Hochstein, Cheyenne Jackson, LaToya Jackson, Peter Marc Jacobson, Avan Jogia, Kaya Jones, Tamala Jones, Jarod Joseph, Keahu Kahuaui, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Jennifer Knapp, C.J. Koegel, Kara Laricks, Laura Leon, Bubba Lewis, Judith Light, Mario Lopez, Katie Lowes, Jessica Lu, Lilia Luciano, Desi Lydic, Sean Maher, Marlee Matlin, Edith Marquez, Katlin Mastandrea, Lucia Mendez, Dean McDermott, Reba McEntire, Joel McHale, Sir Ian McKellan, Maria Menounous, Paula Meronek, Windell Middlebrooks, Andy Mientus, Justin Mikita, Cesar Milan, Dannii Minogue, Alicia Minshew, D.W. Moffett, Rita Moreno, Sarah Mitchell, Shay Mitchell, Sonja Morgan, Jessica Morris, Mary Murphy, Brandon Nelson, Matt Nordgren, Tyler Oakley, Shaquille O’Neal, JD Ordonez, Terrell Owens, AJ Pagan, Ian Patrick, Marysol Patton, Zack Pearlman, Bernadette Peters, Melissa Peterman, Pauly D, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Joey Pollari, Marisa del Portillo, Stephanie Pratt, Cierra Ramirez, Emilie de Ravin, Jasmine Reynaud, Jillian Rose Reed, Shonda Rhimes, Ashley Rickards, Brent Ridge, RoBA, Chef Jason Roberts, Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Sara Rue, Thomas Sadoski, SallyAnn Salsano, Erin Sanders, Helenna Santos-Levy, Kenny Santucci, Robb Schreiber, Diego Schoening, Benji Schwimmer, Ryan Serhant, Lindsey Shaw, Christina Sicoli, Gail Simmons, Freddie Smith, Evan Starkman, KaDee Strickland, George Takei, Molly Tarlov, Lea Thompson, Shannon Tweed-Simmons, Kirsten Vangsness, Vanessa Villela, Michelle Visage, Bruce Vilanch, Kathy Wakile, Stephen Wallem, Kerry Washington, Trey Weatherholtz, Jill and Nikki Weiss-Goldstein, Wendy Williams, Henry Winkler, Marissa Winokur and Kyra Zagorsky will also participate by going purple on October 19. For a full list please visit: http://www.glaad.org/spiritday/entertainment
Celebrity participants and Spirit Day Ambassadors are also encouraging fans and supporters to donate to GLAAD, GLSEN and The Trevor Project by texting ‘PURPLE’ to 80888 to make a $5 contribution. AT&T is the exclusive underwriter of the Spirit Day Text Purple campaign.
In addition to the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign, Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Treasure Island, The Tropicana Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will also turn their resort marquees purple along the Las Vegas Strip 11 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. and then again 10 p.m. – 10:15 p.m. The Fremont Street Experience will also go purple for Spirit Day at 10 p.m. and again at 11 p.m., lighting its famed Viva Vision canopy, which consists of more than 12 million LED lights and spans four city blocks. Organized by The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center), a meet-up for teens and young adults will take place that evening at the Fremont Street Experience. Marquee Nightclub, located in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, will host a Spirit Day after-party with special celebrity host NHL star Sean Avery.
Other Las Vegas-area participants include Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA); Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN); Golden Rainbow; Hilton Garden Inn; Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce; Las Vegas Pride; Nevada State Senator David Parks; QVegas; and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
GLAAD and Toyota Financial Services last week announced the release of the “Go Purple for #SpiritDay powered by Toyota Financial Services” apps for iPhone and Android. The app provides users with anti-bullying resources, calls to action, and a tool that can turn photos purple and share to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The free app is now available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. To download, visit: http://GLAAD.org/spiritday/app
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second largest school district with more than 640,000 students in over 900 schools, will participate by sharing information about Spirit Day with students on its website and through its social media channels.
Corporations including AMC Entertainment, American Airlines, American Apparel, AT&T, atelier-lb, Caesars Foundation, Carat, Citi, Comcast, CreagerCole Communications, Delta Air Lines, Draftfcb, Digitas, Ernst & Young LLP, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard Company, Hyatt, Johnnye’s East Texas Soul, LBNY, Leo Burnett Business, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Marquee Las Vegas, MediaVest, MetLife, MSL New York, Mobli, NBCUniversal, Nielsen, Omnicom Group, PepsiCo, Publicis Groupe, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, PwC, Saatchi & Saatchi, Southern California Edison, StumbleUpon, Thomson Reuters, Toyota Financial Services, tumblr, Viacom, Warner Bros., Wells Fargo, Yahoo! and Zenith Optimedia will also participate in Spirit Day. Participating companies will distribute information to employees about wearing purple and/or turn their logo purple on October 19.
Hundreds of local and national groups and organizations including American Federation of Teachers (AFT); HRC; GLSEN and Trevor Project. See more at http://www.glaad.org/spiritday/organizations.
This year, more than 50 faith organizations are encouraging followers to participate. Visit the faith page of the Spirit Day web site (http://www.glaad.org/spiritday/faith) to participate in Spirit Day.
In 2010, teenager Brittany McMillan called on her friends to wear purple as a way to memorialize those who lost their lives to bullying. With GLAAD’s help, Spirit Day has since garnered widespread support from celebrities, TV news and entertainment programs, corporations, organizations, schools, local communities, and even national landmarks. Spirit Day coincides with GLSEN’s Ally Week, as well as National Bullying Prevention Month.
"Showing support for your friends, family and teachers can make all the difference in the world to young LGBT people, whether they are going through a tough time or not,” said 17-year-old McMillan. “This year, Spirit Day is going to be bigger and better than ever, and I’m so thrilled to be going purple alongside some of my favorite celebrities, as well as millions of others in a united stand against bullying.”