A self-described “LGBTQ Sports Journalist” has criticized “Christian Day,” an annual event hosted by the St. Louis Cardinals during which players can talk about their faith.
Erik Hall, a contributor to the gay sports website Outsports, was denied a press credential to cover the July 30 event at Busch Stadium. Chris Tunno, the St. Louis Communications Coordinator, wrote to Hall that “Major League Baseball and its member clubs do not credential web/blog sites…Major League Baseball and its member clubs credential only those media wishing to cover teams and their players, where a theme night would not fall under that category.”
Despite being expressly told that bloggers do not receive media credentials as a matter of policy, Hall later suggested the team discriminated against him because he wrote for a gay magazine, suggestively writing that "the Cardinals denied a credential to an LGBT publication."
Hall bought a ticket and went to the game anyway, primarily to see retired player Lance Berkman speak.
A six-time MLB all-star, in 2015 Berkman objected to a Houston law that would have made it legal for transgender individuals to use the restroom which corresponded with their gender identity. After the proposition was defeated, Berkman was quoted in a USA Today article as saying, “To me, tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country. We’re tolerant of everything.”
According to Hall, “Berkman stayed away from LGBT politics Sunday."
The closest he came was telling the crowd to be "obedient" to the Bible. “Faith and obedience go hand in hand,” Berkman said. “You can’t have faith unless you’re walking in the way that God wants you to walk.”
Hall continued, “While the Cardinals denied a credential to an LGBT publication, Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny tried to claim Christians are an afflicted minority during his Christian Day talk. Matheny said of his players that talked ahead of him at Christian Day, ‘For them to share something that isn’t politically correct anymore, something that isn’t publicly acceptable, for them to stand up here and to share…takes a great amount of courage.’”
Sunday’s speakers also included current Cardinals pitchers Zach Duke and Adam Wainwright, and Cardinals announcer Rick Horton.
“None of the seven speakers mentioned the words lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” Hall observed.