Madison’s summer collegiate baseball team has officially severed ties with the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, citing the company’s record of donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations.
In a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon, the Madison Mallards made the announcement, writing, “For nineteen years, the Mallards have prided ourselves on building an experience focused on fun and inclusion while working hard to stay away from the sometimes negative energy that can surround day-to-day life around us. In that spirit, today we are announcing that we are ending our relationship with Chick-fil-A.”
The post went on to explain that, “What was intended as a simple promotion has evolved to associate us with something that we don’t stand for: the support of anti-LGBTQ organizations. Simply put, our corporate values do not align. We made a mistake not realizing the negative impact of our decision and the people this would offend and for that, we sincerely apologize.”
The Mallards had been promoting an event at a local Chick-fil-A location when members of OPEN, Madison’s LGBTQ professional engagement network, reached out to express concern. OPEN has a planned outing to a Mallards game on July 11 and was considering cancelling it in light of the apparent co-promotion between the team and the restaurant. A meeting with Mallards representatives followed, and OPEN’s leadership cheered the resulting decision.
” Thank you, Madison Mallards, for supporting the LGBTQ community and standing up against hate!” OPEN president Justin Williams wrote in response.
Chick-fil-A has come under fire in recent years for charitable giving by its foundation to various organizations that openly discriminate against LGBTQ people and/or campaign against LGBTQ rights. After airports in several cities opted to remove the chain from their facilities, Chick-Fil-A Foundation leader Rodney Bullard doubled down and told Business Insider that millions of dollars in donations to groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Paul Anderson Youth Home were part of a “higher calling.” Bullard also claimed that campaigns for LGBTQ rights were “political and cultural war.”
The Mallards went on to reiterate their support for the LGBTQ community, noting, “We firmly believe in equality for all people regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or otherwise and we authentically look forward to seeing all of you at the ballpark this summer.”