Mariners earn Commissioner’s Award for Refuse to Abuse campaign

FelixAdThe Mariners’ Refuse to Abuse campaign against domestic violence has earned the franchise its first Commissioner Award for Philanthropic Excellence, a prestigious honor that was announced Thursday at the Major League Baseball Owners Meetings in Kansas City.

The CAPE Award was started by Commissioner Bud Selig in 2010 to recognize extraordinary charitable and philanthropic efforts by MLB clubs. Previous winners were the Red Sox in 2010, White Sox in 2011, Blue Jays in 2012 and Tigers in 2013.

The Mariners received the 2014 award for their public service campaign against domestic violence, which last year featured ace pitcher Felix Hernandez, outfielder Michael Saunders and manager Lloyd McClendon in television, radio and print advertisements.

Mariners Care will receive a $10,000 grant from Major League Baseball Charities as part of the recognition.

“I am very proud of the Seattle Mariners and Mariners Care for taking a leading role in educating fans and other members of their community on the importance of respectful relationships,” Selig said. “This is a vital societal issue that impacts the lives of individuals and families in harrowing ways.

“Having communicated with many experts, we continue to work diligently toward a comprehensive policy that reflects the gravity of domestic violence and how to best serve the interests of victims and their families,” said Selig. “The efforts of the Mariners, who encourage fans to take a public stance against domestic violence, are exemplary. I thank the Mariners and all of our clubs for their year-round efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

The Refuse to Abuse program was first implemented in 1997 as a spinoff of the popular “Refuse to Lose” motto of the 1995 club. Working with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the club began promoting an educational campaign conveying the need for respect at home as well as on the field.

“When we were approached by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence with an opportunity to support this difficult and serious issue, we recognized it as a unique way to use our brand to send the message that domestic violence is not okay,” said Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln. “It is a great honor to be recognized by Commissioner Selig for the work we have done over the years with our partners at the Coalition.”

For the last three years, the Coalition and Mariners have sponsored a 5K run/walk at Safeco Field to raise money for the Coalition’s prevention work and allow fans to join the effort to end domestic violence. The Refuse to Abuse 5K, which takes place in and around Safeco Field, encourages participants to start conversations about healthy relationships, and gives them concrete tools to do so.

The Refuse To Abuse campaign ads reach millions of Mariners fans each year and more than 1,300 people attended the 5K run/walk in July. The 5K has raised more than $200,000 for the Coalition over the last three years.

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