Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass will catch the ceremonial first pitch from an LGBTQ activist before Friday’s game against the Minnesota Twins more than a week after he faced fierce backlash for sharing a video on social media that called on Christians to support the massive boycotts against Target and Bud Light.
Bass, who issued a public apology last week for sharing a video that he said "was hurtful to the Pride community," will catch the pitch from activist leZlie Lee Kam ahead of Friday’s game, which begins Toronto’s fourth annual Pride Weekend celebration.
Bass, 35, shared a video to his Instagram Stories last week from a creator named Ryan Miller, who called on Christians to join the boycotts after the retail giant faced massive backlash this month over its Pride Month collection.
The protests against Target followed boycotts against Bud Light over its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney back in March.
Bass later apologized, adding that he was working with the team to better educate himself.
"I recognize yesterday that I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine, and I am truly sorry for that," he said at the time.
"The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark, and we want to welcome everybody. That’s all I have to say."
Bass again addressed the controversy ahead of Thursday’s game against the Houston Astros.
According to The Athletic, he said he had initially shared the video because it "reflected my (Christian) beliefs" and that he didn’t view it as hateful."
"That’s why I posted it originally. When I look back at it, I could see how people can view it that way. And that’s why I was apologetic."
Bass called the video a "distraction" but ultimately stood by his "personal beliefs."
"But I stand by my personal beliefs, and everyone’s entitled to their personal beliefs, right? But also I mean no harm toward any groups of people."
"My focus from the get-go should have been doing my job and being accepting of everyone’s decisions and views in life," he continued. "Through this process, I’ve learned that. Moving forward, I will definitely know better than to post my personal beliefs on my social media platforms."
Bass has been booed by Toronto fans in his two home appearances since the apology, but he said Thursday that he understands the backlash.
"I just want them to know that I’m working hard on myself, a lot of self-reflection."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.