If you missed it over the weekend, Brewers minor leaguer David Denson announced that he was gay, making him the first openly gay player in MLB-affiliated ball. Following his announcement there was an outpouring of support from the Brewers, players in their organization, Major League Baseball and the public. One could look at this report and say “man, 2015 is such a different time than even just a few years ago.”
And, generally speaking, that’s true when it comes to gay rights and gay acceptance. But it’s not a universal thing. Indeed, as Buster Olney reminds us via links to his 1999 New York Times story, when Billy Bean came out following his playing career, he got strong acceptance and support from his former teammates on the Padres, including Brad Ausmus, Trevor Hoffman and GM Randy Smith.
Of course there were outliers then, and they were more vocal then than anyone may be today if they disapprove of Denson. Like these guys:
”If you polled every player in this room,” said Chad Curtis, the Yankees outfielder who was asked to comment on an article about Bean in The New York Times yesterday, ”they would tell you they wouldn’t want to even have the thought another guy on the team might be checking them out. You have a lot of guys in this room who are fairly uncomfortable with the idea of women in the media coming in here — even just the notion they’re being looked at.”
Said Andy Pettitte, ”There would be a question of being comfortable.”
Pettitte would probably say something else now, as he’s older and wiser and times have changed. As for Curtis, well, if you want to hear his views on athletic facility behavior and morality you’ll have to go visit him in prison, where he sits because of his immoral and illegal acts inside of an athletic facility.