When the Philadelphia Union announced their promotional giveaway schedule for the season on Wednesday, many fans were drawn to one event in particular.
On June 5, the team will hold an 80's theme night, and there will be a giveaway sponsored by Chick-Fil-A. The national fast-food chain is generally known for three things: its chicken, its unusually-shaped french fries and its political conservatism.
Chick-Fil-A's history of being against equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has stirred up a particularly large amount of controversy. So it was not surprising when the Union's decision to associate with Chick-Fil-A generated a lot of reaction from fans on Twitter.
There was also this column on Gay4Soccer.com from its editor, Chris Billig, who is a Lehigh Valley expat now living in Austin, Texas.
I asked the Union for a comment in response to the criticism. I was given the following statement from CEO Nick Sakiewicz and the team's media relations department:
Philadelphia Union does not support the views expressed by certain individuals within the Chick-Fil-A organization. We always have and always will be fully supportive of all people and all walks of life. Our brand stands for inclusiveness and unity regardless of race, ethnic origin, religious or personal beliefs. We believe that everyone has the right to choose what is best for them.
We plan on continuing with the night. Our partnership is with the local ownership group and is in support of families - all families, without definition or discrimination.
In addition, I was told that the team "certainly would" host a gay pride night at a Union game. But I was not given any specific plans regarding when that might happen.