Anthony Bass, a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball (MLB) team, apologized on Tuesday for sharing an anti-LGBTQ post on social media.
Bass, a 35-year-old native of Michigan, became embroiled in controversy on Monday when he shared a video on his Instagram story promoting a conservative boycott of Bud Light beer and Target stores. The brands are among the increasing number of companies and products drawing the ire of right-wing figures online over their pro-LGBTQ+ marketing initiatives.
Bud Light was initially targeted for a small branded partnership it did with a popular transgender social media influencer. Target faced calls for boycotts and bomb threats after introducing its 2023 line of Pride Month merchandise. Despite such inclusive marketing and branding initiatives being commonplace among corporations for years, they have become engulfed in controversy in recent months, with some experts pinning the blame on a small number of influential far-right figures orchestrating a plan to make support for LGBTQ+ communities toxic for major companies.
Bass has since deleted the video from his account, and on Tuesday, he briefly addressed reporters with an apology for his actions. He did not take questions from the assembled press and did not elaborate on what motivated him to share the video in the first place.
“I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine,” Bass said. “I am truly sorry for that. I just spoke with my teammates and shared with them my actions yesterday. I apologized with them, and as of right now, I am using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward.”
He continued: “The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark. We want to welcome everybody. That’s all I have to say.”
Blue Jays manager John Schneider said that Bass apologized to him and general manager Ross Atkins for the post, to which they suggested that he also address the team. Schneider stressed that Bass’s post “doesn’t represent our overall feelings as an organization.” The team will take part in Pride Month festivities later in June and plans to give out 15,000 rainbow flags.
“The message to the fan base is that we have and will continue to be a huge part of the Pride community,” Schneider added.
No discussions have been had about punishing Bass for the post. Newsweek reached out to MLB’s public relations office via email for comment.