The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't the first California baseball team to face criticism for associating with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an anti-Catholic LGBTQ group, but when it last happened in 1995, things turned out a lot differently.
The controversial group—which consists of cross-dressing "nuns" who combine drag with religious imagery—was one of many to participate in the Giants' August 1995 "Until There's a Cure" AIDS benefit game. When the Catholic League wrote the Giants to take issue with the group's inclusion, then-team president Peter Magowan profusely apologized, saying the team was "deeply embarrassed" to be associated with the "sisters."
"It was most regrettable, as their acts of mockery not only were unfair to the Catholic Church, but also were a distraction to the worthy focus of the day," Magowan wrote. "Please let me reiterate that we are keenly sensitive to your feelings and in no way condone the behavior of this group. Let me assure you that stricter screening procedures will be implemented next year if a similar event is staged."
Roughly three decades later, the Giants' in-state rival also apologized for its dealings with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence—but not to Catholics. Instead, the Dodgers apologized to the "LGBTQ community" after the team uninvited the group to its annual Pride Night following Catholic backlash. That decision prompted a new wave of criticism from liberal groups, and the Dodgers quickly reissued the invitation.
"After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussion with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence," the team said in a statement, "the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ community and their friends and family."
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 22, 2023
In response to the Dodgers, the Catholic League launched a campaign to boycott the team's Pride Night game. Prominent MLB players have also condemned the Dodgers for standing by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
"To invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of over 4 million people in Los Angeles county alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization," Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams said in a May statement. "I believe it is essential for the Dodgers to reconsider their association with this group and strive to create an inclusive environment that does not demean or disrespect the religious beliefs of any fan or employee. I also encourage my fellow Catholics to reconsider their support of an organization that allows this type of mockery of its fans to occur."