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  • 12-year-old Sam Maden of Nashua used his uncle Chris as an inspiration for his petition to the Red Sox to create an "It Gets Better" video to encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teenagers.
Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sox release spot on anti-bullying

Prompted by a 12-year-old Nashua boy, the Boston Red Sox released an anti-bullying video Friday.

Sam Maden, a seventh-grader at Pennichuck Middle School, created a petition through Change.org for the Red Sox to make an “It Gets Better” video in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teenagers. He spurred the team to action, and Friday the video was released.

It can be seen on YouTube and on the Red Sox official Web site.

The 60-second video includes vignettes of Red Sox players and teens who have been bullied because of their sexual orientation speaking out against it. It features third-baseman Kevin Youkilis, catcher Jason Varitek and manager Terry Francona.

“It’s OK to be your own unique being,” Varitek says in the video.

The players and manager are spliced with videos featuring teens who have been victims of bullying.

“It makes you feel like even more of an outsider,” said one girl, who said she was part of the LBGT community.

Francona encourages those being bullied to get help “whether it’s teachers, counselors or friends.”

“Don’t be scared. A lot of people go and get therapy – myself included,” Youkilis said.

Sam’s petition was part of his “make a difference” project, something that must be completed by all students on the “Red Team” at Pennichuck Middle School. When it drew more than 9,000 signatures in just over a week, it got the attention of Red Sox officials.

The Red Sox are the third Major League Baseball team that pledged to create a video to support the campaign.

The San Francisco Giants released an “It Gets Better” video June 1. The Chicago Cubs announced they would create its video supporting the project.

“Bullying is something that has touched many of our lives either personally or through someone we love,” said Susan Goodenow, Red Sox Senior Vice President of Public Affairs/Marketing, in a team statement. “We are proud of dedicated Red Sox fans like 12-year-old Sam Maden who took the courageous step recently to publicly stand up against bullying of LGBT youth, and we are honored to join Sam and others throughout Red Sox Nation in support of the It Gets Better Project.”

Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or mbrindley@nashuatelegraph.com.