The New England Revolution have a decision to make.
On June 15, the organization will be celebrating Pride Night. The Revolution have partnered with the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY) to support their Host Homes program and will collect household goods such as towels and sheets at the gates leading into the stadium.
The Boston Strikers Soccer Club will also be in attendance and on the Gillette Stadium concourse. The Strikers are a non-profit organization established in 1987 to give LGBTQ+ soccer players the opportunity to connect around soccer.
The Pride Flag will be flying over Gillette Stadium and displayed on the field as well. Revolution players, coaches, and staff will also show their support on the pitch by wearing Adidas Loves Unites training tops during warm-ups, and many Revolution players will arrive to the stadium in Essential Pride t-shirts. The shirts were purchased by the New England Revolution Foundation from 195essential, a Boston-based, Black-owned apparel company.
Sam this is great news so what’s with the headline?
The Florida House of Representatives passed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” a bill that is widely supported by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in March. The bill prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” from kindergarten through third grade.
Now what does this have to do with the Revolution? Let’s get to the details.
Popular Information’s Judd Legum reported that since 2020, “UnitedHealth Group has given DeSantis at least $200,000.” While I didn’t think running this site involved going through Florida’s campaign finance database I did some digging myself.
Since 2021, UHC has donated $100,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis Political Action Committee (PAC).
DeSantis has a long history of Anti-LGBTQIA+ initiatives. The Florida Governor voted against giving survivors of the Orlando “Pulse” nightclub shooting mental health counseling resources. He also vetoed money that was supposed to be used for an LGBTQIA+ youth shelter, and banned trans child athletes from participating in sports.
When asked for comment regarding why they monetarily supported the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” UHC stated that they did not “monetarily support this bill.” When asked about DeSantis’ history of hate towards the community, the organization has not responded to requests for comment as of publishing.
UHC is also monetarily linked to Ohio House Bill 151 which states that “individuals of the male sex” are prohibited from competing in middle school, high school or college athletic teams “designated only for participants of the female sex.”
This piece of legislation would allow for anyone to challenge any student’s eligibility, forcing the athlete to prove their gender by undergoing medical inspections of their “internal and external reproductive anatomy.” Also, a check of their genetic makeup and testosterone levels would be required.
The bill was passed by the house and is currently waiting Ohio senate approval. The Revolution are tied to the bill with UHC donating $14,750 to the Ohio Republican Party State Candidate Fund in 2020. The main sponsor of the bill, Don Jones (Republican) won the general election for Ohio House of Representatives District 95 on November 3 of 2020.
The link between UHC and problematic political moves doesn’t stop there. The healthcare group also donated $90,000 to the sponsors of Texas’ abortion ban since 2018 according to Legum. The extremely restrictive legislation prohibits all abortions after six weeks and has no exceptions for rape or incest. Also, the law places a $10,000 bounty on anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion in Texas after six weeks. Private citizens can collect the bounty by filing a lawsuit. The legislation was enacted in May of 2021.
The Revolution have had a partnership with United Healthcare since 2011. This includes the healthcare company’s logo being featured prominently on New England’s kit.
The club could not be reached for comment though multiple efforts were made to gain one regarding UHC’s monetary support for the anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.
So the Revolution need to decide if the work they are doing such as hosting pride night and being an active supporter of the LGTBQIA+ community is sufficient if the company on the front of their kits is monetarily supporting groups that are actively discriminating against the very group of people New England hopes to support?
If the answer to that question is no, what will the club do to rectify the situation?