The Major League Soccer season is barely past its midway point, and the ink is barely dry on its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America — which was signed in January — yet MLS has already decided to not renew the relationship, and announced so publicly.
The Boy Scouts made headlines on Tuesday when the organization said it would be continuing with its policy of excluding gay members and scout masters after a “secret review.” Since 1991, the BSA has officially prohibited any openly gay people from participating, but in recent months it had appeared some board members and other leaders had not been entirely in lock step with the policy.
The BSA’s membership policy also disallows agnostics and atheists from participating.
Almost immediately following the BSA’s official reaffirmation of its membership policy, MLS announced its decision not to renew its relationship with the 102-year-old club, as reported by Scott K. Parks and the Dallas Morning News. Though American top flight cited “a variety of business reasons” for its calling off of the parnership, the timing of the announcement and the league’s declination to elaborate on its decision speak volumes.
In recent years there have been a number of campaigns and efforts to end discrimination on the basis of homosexuality in sports. The NHL’s “You Can Play” campaign is probably the most noteworthy, while even New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski — an emblem of masculinity in sports — recently said he would be “cool” with having a gay teammate.
So, as society continues to change, it appears the Boy Scouts of America have yet to get the memo.
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