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Cubs, Blackhawks' Pride Ride Stirs Reactions

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Jun 30, 2010 5:20PM

Photo by chloeloe
Last weekend's Pride Parade held special significance as two of the city's major sports teams - the Blackhawks and the Cubs - were represented with floats in the day of epic gayness. The Blackhawks, Stanley Cup in tow, brought along defenseman Brent Sopel to the gayla. The Cubs, meanwhile, enlisted "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks to head up their contingent alongside the Ricketts family. Sunday's parade marked the first time the Boystown neighbors participated in Pride. Reactions, for the most part, were positive.

Pride Parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer told ESPN he saw the teams' participation as a "major breakthrough." "I think it says something about the changing of our culture," Pfeiffer continued. "So much has changed as far as attitudes."

The teams' decisions have been celebrated by many, including a number of prominent sports writers. Of the move, Sports Illustrated columnist Jeff Pearlman wrote: "Is it the wisest marketing move in a socially conservative part of the country? No, probably not. But sometimes the right thing trumps the savvy thing ... This is what we should call guts; what we should call heart; what we should call courage and pride."

"With moves like Brent Sopel's today to not only pay tribute to a friend's son as well as his life, this can be a step towards eliminating some of the awful discrimination that exists in our world," wrote ProHockeyTalk blogger Joe Yerdon.

But not everyone was thrilled with the Cubs and Blackhawks' newfound pride. James Finnegan, of Barrington, wrote a scathing letter published in the Daily Herald titled "Pride Parade floats send wrong message." Finnegan is the president of Illinois Choose Life, an organization pushing to make speciality pro-life license plate available to Illinois drivers.

"Apparently there's little concern on the part of Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough of the Blackhawks, and the Ricketts family of the Chicago Cubs, about the misguided message their participation in the parade sends - especially to the youth of our country," Finnegan wrote. "This is a sad day for the large majority of families who still believe in the moral values, such as traditional marriage, that have made America great."