The Seattle Mariners on Thursday became the fourth professional sports team to announce plans to join the “It Gets Better Project,” and record a video of encouragement for LGBT youth.
This decision comes after the World Series Champions San Francisco Giants became the first professional sports team to join the effort, filming and releasing a video in which several Giants players and coaches speak out against the bullying of gay youth.
Last week, Tacoma, Wash.-resident Eric Williams, 22, launched a petition at Change.org to encourage the Mariner’s participation with “It Gets Better.”
Williams, an openly gay Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq before his service contract ended June 3, said the message would have transformed his youth had he heard it as a 10-year-old growing up in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
The petition garnered more than 3,000 signatures by Thursday evening.
But Mariners spokesperson Rebecca Hale told USA Today that the increasingly popular Change.org petition was not the reason behind the team’s decision.
“We didn’t get convinced to do it because of a petition,” Hale says. “It was something that was on our radar since the Giants’ video.”
Hale says filming is in the planning stages.
Just last week, the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox announced they had “It Gets Better” videos in the works.
The “It Gets Better Project,” launched by Seattle-based activist and author Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller, has since compiled more than 10,000 online videos to provide support and encouragement to LGBT teens struggling with bullying and adversity.