CBA Forbids Discrimination on Sexual Orientation

It’s official: “Non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation were added to Article XV.” We’ve focused more on the new CBA’s likely effect on the playoffs and on large-market and small-market teams in the draft and in player development. The new language regarding sexual orientation is going to be hard to enforce — both in terms of punishment and in terms of baseball culture, more broadly. And it’s still unclear when baseball will get its first “Gay Jackie Robinson.” But it’s a step in the right direction.

Baseball’s new language comes on the heels of a similar change made by the NFL this summer, which — following their lockout — added language forbidding sexual-orientation discrimination. Similar rules are in place in the NHL and in Major League Soccer, but as Rafael McDonnell writes in The Advocate, “Six years after their league adopted a sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy, no openly gay NHL players have skated onto the ice. Seven years after soccer adopted a similar policy, no openly gay Major League Soccer players are actively playing.”

So will baseball’s closet open soon? That’s a question that has been asked for three decades, since Glenn Burke came out after his retirement in 1982. In 2002, while he was managing the Mets, Bobby Valentine told Details Magazine that, in his opinion, baseball was “probably ready for an openly gay player.” For a moment, it seemed like he might actually have been right, and the Tony Award for best play on Broadway in 2003 went to “Take Me Out,” which premiered a few months after Valentine’s comment. It was a play about a star player on a New York baseball team who decided to come out as gay. However, that didn’t end up happening in the real world. Valentine’s comments led columnists to speculate openly about whether he had anyone in particular in mind, and that speculation led to Mike Piazza’s locker, where Piazza then gave his famous “I’m not gay” press conference. After that brouhaha, no active player stepped forward.

Only two retired players, and one former umpire, have ever come out. Glenn Burke did it two years after playing his last game for the Oakland A’s, and Billy Bean came out in 2000, several years after playing his last game for the Padres. Both were utility outfielders. An umpire from the 1980s, Dave Pallone — whose other claim to fame was an on-field argument where Pete Rose pushed him — came out after retiring and claimed that he was pushed out of the game for his sexual orientation. Though he only came out after retiring, Burke was out to his teammates while he played. In a recent documentary about him, one of Burke’s former teammates, Dusty Baker, accused the Los Angeles Dodgers of getting rid of him because he was gay; Burke and Baker are sometimes credited with having invented the high five in 1977. Burke died of AIDS in 1995, leaving Bean as the only openly gay baseball player still alive. (Today is World AIDS Day, by the way.)

For at least a decade, the official line for most baseball people who have been willing to go on the record is that while other people might be uncomfortable, they think teams would be OK with an openly gay player. That’s basically what Piazza said at his press conference, and what many have repeated since then. At least eight baseball teams have now posted videos to Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project: the Rays, Phillies, Mariners, Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Giants and the Dodgers, the team for which Burke and Bean played. In addition, MLB has posted most of the team videos on its YouTube feed, as well. Numerous teams have held “Gay Days” at the ballpark, encouraging members of the LGBT community to buy group tickets. (The site gaybaseballdays.com used to track such events, but it is no longer updated.)

Frankly, that’s the simple stuff. It’s extremely easy to speak in abstract terms about being tolerant of people who are unnamed. It’s easy, albeit still commendable, for Dodger manager Don Mattingly and the Dodger players to say, “Part of being a team means respecting everyone around us. Respecting our teammates, our coaches, our opponents and especially our fans. All baseball fans. Doesn’t matter which team you cheer for, where you’re from, or what language you speak. And it doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation or gender identity is.” Hey, I’m happy that the Dodgers were willing to speak out against discrimination. But I’m not satisfied by the way they handled it. “Respecting our fans” still conveniently sidesteps the notion of an openly gay player. The hard part is creating an actual environment where that can happen — and that requires players, teammates, coaches, managers and executives to start saying more than “it doesn’t matter.”

So has it gotten better? Sure. But the number of active, openly gay baseball players remains at zero. That will change sooner or later. Again, the new CBA language is just one step, and it’s a positive one. Now, though, it’s time for baseball’s culture to change. For Jackie Robinson to be able to succeed, he needed support — like the Kentuckian Pee Wee Reese who stood by him against racists on the Dodgers, such as Fred “Dixie” Walker, the Georgian who asked Reese to sign a petition to refuse to play with a black man. Reese refused, and Walker requested a trade.

We often hear players to say things like, “I love these guys,” when they’re on a winning team; now it’s time to hear a player admit he would still say “I love these guys” if one of those guys came out as gay. It’s time to move past arm’s-length words like “tolerance” and “respect,” and move toward words like “loyalty” and “love.” It’s time to move past non-discrimination, and move toward acceptance.




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Alex is a writer for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times, and is a product manager for The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @alexremington.


207 Responses to “CBA Forbids Discrimination on Sexual Orientation”

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  1. Dandretti says:

    Gosh, I like this post.

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  2. Ellipsis says:

    what a gay post

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  3. Milo Minder Bender says:

    I love these guys, and this post.

    The machismo culture of baseball and sports in general still isn’t quite there yet. Talk to most pro and amateur players and you’ll still get the “hey that’s fine but I don’t want him hitting on ME”, as if that were some great fear to be allayed.

    Professionals will be professionals. Orientation’s got nothing to do with it. I will openly and gladly support the first man who plays on the field accepting his identity. And I will be even more happy when the day comes where we won’t give a damn about someone’s orientation to begin with.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Indeed. I don’t think that the non-discrimination provision in the CBA signals any kind of cultural change. It’s not as if its something the union specifically pushed for. Any lawyer in any context (whether it be a CBA, a contract, or legislation) who writes a non-discrimination clause in this day and age is going to throw in sexual orientation without giving it a second thought.

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      • Interestingly, as far as I know, a sexual orientation non-discrimination clause was not included in the NBA agreement, despite speculation that it would be. That would mean that the NBA would be the only major professional sports league in the United States without one.

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      • Paul Thomas says:

        Except for, apparently, the lawyers in Congress and the legislatures of 29 states, where employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (I’ll leave out transgender status, because it’s much more legally complex).

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    • Schu says:

      I’ve never understood why ‘coming out’ was so damn important anyway. Who gives a damn who you find attractive? Why is it at all relevant in the workplace?

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        It’s not, except when people get fired for it.

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      • Brad says:

        Good point. How many heterosexuals have admitted to being one? We don’t ask them to.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        It’s important because knowing minorities has a direct correlation with how likely someone is to be accepting of them. It’s much easier to demonizing a faceless “them” you keep at a distance, but actually knowing and interacting with people helps smash any stereotypes one might have had about them. We’ve seen that in the past with racial minorities, and we’re seeing it now with the LGBT community, and we’re starting to see it with non-theists. Obviously, most of us don’t personally know professional athletes, but having someone who’s generally looked up to, whether simply for his athletic prowess or because of his off-the-field work, being out of the closet would probably have an impact on how many people view LGBTs.

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      • Schu says:

        @Kevin S

        I get the wanting a hero thing, but even a few years back when the Mets had Shawn Green he was celebrated for being different (in this case being a Jewish baseball player) and I always considered that sort of thing to be divisive rather than working towards any sort of tolerance/acceptance. Granted, religion is somewhat different, but I don’t think I’m comparing apples and oranges here. If some baseball player comes out and becomes a hero of yours for it, you’re doing more to perpetuate the exclusion than you are to end it. You should think highly of him because he’s a good ball player (or whatever), not because of his sexual orientation.

        Hell, I’m white, and I used to pretend that I was Darryl Strawberry when I was a kid. We need more of that, not less.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Aside from the fact that having more gay baseball players to “come out” will force their teammates and associates towards acceptance…

        Everyone (kids especially) feels better about themselves when they see someone like them succeed. It can be anything– red hair, Jewishness, gayness, shortness, having diabetes, etc. And you’re not prejudiced for doing that.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        I think you misunderstood the point of my post. I wasn’t saying they should come out so gay kids have somebody to look up to (although I disagree with you on that being divisive). I was saying that the more society sees gay people whom they would view in a positive light for the other aspects of that person, the more accepting of gay people society will be in general.

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  4. Mike Green says:

    Are there any college baseball stars who have come out? Many universities are accepting places, and it would probably be easier if the player was out before being drafted.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      That’s one way I can see the next step happening.

      Another thing I can see is if a more prominent baseball person came out. Not necessarily a current star player, but a coach, a GM, a prominent retired player, a player-turned-broadcaster, whatever. Someone who all the players already know and like and regularly interact with. I mean, statistically, these closeted guys have to exist.

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      • They don’t just have to exist. They do exist. Glenn Burke’s teammates knew he was gay, and they respected and accepted him. Billy Bean came out shortly after his retirement. The notion of gay people playing baseball isn’t just a hypothetical: it’s a historical fact.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Alex, absolutely. But I was referring specifically to my hypothetical example of someone more prominent coming out in, which would serve to force the issue on your average player. That hasn’t happened. Yet.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      Not college baseball, but Will Sheridan was out to his teammates at Villanova, and it was a complete non-issue within the locker room. At a Catholic university, no less.

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  5. M.Twain says:

    I’m imagine Billy “Bean” is somewhat ambivalent towards this article.

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    • j bones says:

      it’s a different Billy Bean

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    • I didn’t think it was necessary to point out the difference between Billy Bean, the retired gay baseball player who played briefly in the 1990s, and Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics who is the subject of the book and film “Moneyball.”

      But they are two different people.

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    • philosofool says:

      Billy BeanE and Billy Bean are different players. Bean actually wrote a book, “Going the Other Way” after his retirement. Beane’s book was a bigger success, though

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  6. Powder Blues says:

    You could have at least included some statistics in this article, geez.

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  7. Mike D says:

    One of the last “firsts” in MLB (and any of the major 4 US sports) still await us

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  8. AustinRHL says:

    I wish at least one of Bean and Burke had a positive career WAR, but sadly they were both below replacement level for their careers.

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  9. Marver says:

    I don’t think it’s entirely appropriate to decree ‘acceptance’. Acceptance implies favor and approval, and I don’t think anyone should be mandating that upon another person. There are non-biblical, non-bigoted reasons why people may choose not to receive openly gay individuals approvingly. Toleration and non-discrimination, sure.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      No, you have that entirely backwards. You shouldn’t need to “tolerate” someone because they’re a member of a minority group (be it sexual, racial, or religious). You tolerate your embarrassing uncle; you tolerate life’s annoyances that it’s not worth getting upset about. You don’t “tolerate” people because of the way they were born.

      Think about this: “I don’t approve of black people, but I’ll tolerate them.” Racist?

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      • Cliff says:

        More like this: “I don’t approve of sociopathic people, but I’ll tolerate them”

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      • kick me in the GO NATS says:

        I refuse to tolerate sociopaths! Am I intolerant or wise?

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      • haha says:

        Considering sociopaths were pretty much also born that way, or the result of a god-awful childhood, I don’t see why it’s hilarious to hate on them. They have as much control over who they are as a gay person does. Maybe you just don’t understand what exactly a sociopath is, like about 99.9% of the population who thinks they’re “mean people.”

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      • juan pierres mustache says:

        true, though a sociopath is by definition “a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” (dictionary.com). i don’t think we should hate on them, necessarily, but it’s not quite the same because there is actually a reason to treat sociopaths differently than typical people–the same couldn’t be said of a racial group or a sexual orientation.

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    • Evan says:

      Your definition of acceptance is way different than mine. Favor? Approval? No, those are not synonyms for acceptance.

      Acceptance is saying “you’re my teammate, my colleague, and my friend, and who you want to spend your life with has no bearing on any of those three things. Now let’s go win this game.”

      I think chewing tobacco is nasty, but it won’t stop me from working with someone who uses it. That doesn’t mean I favor it, and I certainly don’t approve, but I accept it.

      And no, there aren’t “non-bigoted” reasons why someone wouldn’t “receive openly gay individuals approvingly”. Just like there weren’t “non-racial” reasons why people didn’t want to play with Jackie Robinson because he was black.

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      • Marver says:

        You have your definitions all wrong:

        Tolerance:
        “noun
        1.a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”

        Acceptance:
        “noun
        1.the act of taking or receiving something offered.
        2.favorable reception; approval; favor.”

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      • I am interested to hear what these “non-biblical, non-bigoted reasons why people may choose not to receive openly gay individuals approvingly” supposedly are. What are they, Marver?

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      • Marver says:

        In taking the stance that there can’t possibly be non-bigoted reasons why someone may express tolerance, but not acceptance towards homosexual activity, you presume that not only every argument you’ve ever heard is bigoted, but that no one could ever potentially make a non-bigoted argument.

        One of those non-bigoted arguments is a philosophical, “meaning of life” type argument, where one large factor in meaning is reproduction. Forfeiting procreation is biologically/evolutionarily inferior in some peoples’ opinion. And that is their opinion based on objective criteria which the homosexual population satisfy (sperm donors aside).

        I think a lot of the push back towards full-blown acceptance is also partially due to the in-your-face response that people like you have towards others who have the right to formulate their own opinion on all matters, right or wrong.

        Ultimately, toleration is not a one way street. You can’t preach it on one end and not tolerate non-toleration on the other without looking a little hypocritical.

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      • Marver says:

        “fail to satisfy” *

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      • Evan says:

        You object on procreative grounds? What about someone who was born sterile, or identifies as asexual? Would you not tolerate them because they can’t or won’t procreate? What about a straight ballplayer who just never wants to have kids? Don’t accept that?

        There are no biological grounds to abhor homosexuality that don’t also encompass dozens of other categories of non-reproductive human. It’s a silly, flailing argument of someone unwilling, or incapable, of examining their prejudices.

        Sorry if this is too in-your-face, I understand you have delicate sensibilities and think people should politely defer to your arguments against equality.

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      • “In taking the stance that there can’t possibly be non-bigoted reasons why someone may express tolerance, but not acceptance towards homosexual activity, you presume that not only every argument you’ve ever heard is bigoted, but that no one could ever potentially make a non-bigoted argument.”

        Yea, I took no stance (unless you are reading way too much into the word “supposedly”). I actually agree with you that some arguments that are non-accepting toward homosexuality are non-bigoted. But, those arguments are still wrong. At least everyone I have seen in my years spent as a philosopher of ethics (and sexual ethics in particular). I am always open to novel arguments, of course.

        “One of those non-bigoted arguments is a philosophical, “meaning of life” type argument, where one large factor in meaning is reproduction. Forfeiting procreation is biologically/evolutionarily inferior in some peoples’ opinion. And that is their opinion based on objective criteria which the homosexual population satisfy (sperm donors aside).”

        So, you do not accept anyone who has had a vasectomy or tubal ligation? What about someone who always uses contraception with no intention of ever reproducing? Do you accept those who make religious commitments to celibacy? What about a fertile person who marries a sterile person, knowing they could never reproduce? Do you accept him/her?

        “I think a lot of the push back towards full-blown acceptance is also partially due to the in-your-face response that people like you have towards others who have the right to formulate their own opinion on all matters, right or wrong.”

        I thought I was extremely un-in-your-face. Please don’t posit other interactions you have had on me. And, of course people are allowed to form their own opinions. And I am allowed to disagree with them when they express those opinions.

        “Ultimately, toleration is not a one way street. You can’t preach it on one end and not tolerate non-toleration on the other without looking a little hypocritical.”

        I tolerate people who hold wrong beliefs, without understanding that they are wrong. I do not tolerate those beliefs, however, as they are wrong.

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      • Marver says:

        Nowhere have I stated my stance on whether I tolerate or accept homosexuals, nor do I necessarily follow the philosophical “meaning of life” crowd. Their response — which I understand — to those asking about people born sterile (etc.) is that they see those on equal terms; ie. yes, choosing to not procreate or being unable to otherwise is equivalent.

        In my own opinion, just as it would be wrong to judge someone exclusively on their ability to procreate, it would be wrong to entirely exclude the ability to procreate as part of a human’s worth.

        Evan, your entire method of arguing is predicated on sounding more virtuous than the next person without examining the empirical repercussions of your principal applied to other debate topics. In other words, it lacks substance and possesses an air of superiority. Ultimately, you have shown yourself to be intolerant of someone who is actually accepting of homosexuals, but happens to disagree that monopoly of thought is the right methodology towards further positive achievement; and further positive achievement is what actually matters.

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      • Marver,

        Sorry about assuming what you call the “philosophical ‘meaning of life'” position to be your own. But, jst so you know, I have never come across a philosopher who actually holds a belief equivalent to that which you state. It is the sort of argument that basically all philosophers (even those who consider homosexual activity to be immoral) reject. There are, however, certain philosophers (known as the New Natural Lawyers) who hold similar beliefs, but for entirely different reasons.

        As for your claim that “just as it would be wrong to judge someone exclusively on their ability to procreate, it would be wrong to entirely exclude the ability to procreate as part of a human’s worth,” I agree. But there is a big difference between saying, “Procreation is a morally valuable thing”, and saying, “Those who deliberately choose not to procreate are doing something wrong.” Similarly, I think what Mother Teresa did in India was a morally valuable thing, but I do not think we act wrongly when we don’t do surrender our lives totally to help the sick and dying as she did. So, basically I agree with your statement, but I do not think it is relevant in this discussion.

        As for your distaste for a “monopoly of thought,” I must disagree. It is not ALWAYS better to have disagreement rather than total agreement. It is not a good thing that there are still people who believe that certain races are inferior to others. There, we should prefer a monopoly of thought (all races should be treated equally). Similarly, I contend we SHOULD have monopoly of thought on the issue of homosexuality, and that everyone should accept it. But, it is not so much a monopoly of thought I seek, as much as a monopoly of truth, where everyone accepts what is true.

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      • Marver says:

        “It is not a good thing that there are still people who believe that certain races are inferior to others.”

        Please define the grounds. Certain races adhere to cultural values that are inferior to others. There are cultures in which the use of hands and doing any manual labor whatsoever is frowned upon, which is (to most I imagine) clearly an inferiority. Insofar as the conversation about race includes culture, superiority and inferiority can be exhibited (provided you define some grounds on which to place value, be it productivity or whatever). Removing the cultural aspect is difficult, but studies of blacks submerged amongst whites, Malay submerged amongst Chinese, Ibo amongst Yoruba, etc. shows that race is not a factor, yes.

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      • Jake says:

        Marver,

        Even using your definitions, tolerance of a gay teammate would, in my eyes, still be bigoted view. While you are not actively against someone different from you (in this situation, a gay teammate), you are still merely putting up with them while claiming that they are wrong. You still think that it is wrong for them to be gay. To accept them is to let that teammate know that, while you don’t share the same beliefs/feelings, you encourage them and support them in their feelings.
        To tolerate is to put up with something or someone without actively downgrading or opposing it, while acceptance is making it known that that something or someone is welcome and validated even if it isn’t the way you personally are/feel/etc.

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      • Marver says:

        Jake,

        You cannot be tolerant and bigoted simultaneously. It is a contradiction in terms:

        Bigotry: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

        It is a disservice to the conversation to blur the distinctions between the different terms. Acceptance implies approval and favor, as it’s in its very definition. By definition, accepting homosexuality is an explicit preference of it in FAVOR of the various alternatives, which in this discussion is heterosexuality.

        That the overwhelming majority of the people discussing this took objection to a position that objected to terminology being used, while failing to actually investigate the terminology itself, does not reflect well on those individuals.

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      • byron says:

        ” By definition, accepting homosexuality is an explicit preference of it in FAVOR of the various alternatives, which in this discussion is heterosexuality.”

        Marver, that’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve said so far. I accept that some people have a different hair color than mine; I do not favor that hair color. I accept that some people stubbed their toe yesterday; I do not favor having stubbed one’s toe yesterday. I accept that some people wrap up their homophobia in faux-intellectual arguments; oh wait, no I don’t.

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      • david says:

        Dave Marver,

        If you’re going to make such a stink about linguistics, you should try probably define the words being used, not just related words.

        Tolerate, v.
        1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
        2. to endure without repugnance; put up with: I can tolerate laziness, but not incompetence.

        So, would you go back to bloviating about, uh, unique views of baseball talent evaluation and leave the definitions to others.

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      • Husker says:

        Well, we’re getting steeped in semantics here. I have had many friends (including one best friend) who was gay and as a manager hired gay employees and treated them no differently from others.
        I am also disgusted by the idea of man-on-man sex.
        So do I “accept,” “approve,” “tolerate”?
        It does not matter what verb I choose as long as I don’t discriminate.

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      • David says:

        Dear Esteemed Troll (aka Marver),

        “Acceptance implies approval and favor, as it’s in its very definition.”

        It’s pretty clear that the sense of “favor” alluded to in the definition is the following: “something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration.” This is not equivalent to preference, which is the definition you conveniently assumed for maximum straw man purposes appear to be using. Get your own terminology straight.

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    • Matt says:

      >>I don’t think it’s entirely appropriate to decree ‘acceptance’. Acceptance implies favor and approval, and I don’t think anyone should be mandating that upon another person. There are non-biblical, non-bigoted reasons why people may choose not to receive openly gay individuals approvingly. Toleration and non-discrimination, sure.<<

      You had it exactly right, Marver. If someone chooses their behavior, that does not warrant approval. My uncle was an adulterer, and I'm not fine with that behavior, but I still love my uncle. My aunt is a lesbian, and while I'm not approving of that behavior, I still love my aunt. I don't have to approve of a behvior while still not holding it against them. It's ridiculous to mandate I approve of something immoral. It's also ridiculous to say that because someone feels compelled to a certain behavior that it defines them as a protected class.

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      • M.Twain says:

        On the other hand, your aunt’s lesbianism does make your uncle’s adultery more understandable.

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      • But you can’t just disapprove of something that you believe to be immoral without have a good reason to believe it to be immoral in the first place. To do so would simply be unreasonable.

        Do you have a good reason for why you believe homosexuality to be wrong?

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      • Marver says:

        Moral: “adjective, conforming to the rules of right conduct”

        I don’t think it takes an Evolutionary Biologist — and apparently we have one here — to figure out that the right conduct (in the biological sense) for a penis includes the vagina. Where the line is drawn is an individual opinion. You can choose to not draw a line, or set it at ‘human’, or whatever, and other people can say you’re wrong or right, too. Evolutionarily, though, there is a fairly clear ‘right conduct’ seeing as we’re here and all…

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      • Evan says:

        There’s nothing worse than a self-righteous, look-how-sober-and-reasonable-I-am, devil’s advocate, Spock wannabe. These aren’t abstractions, these are people’s lives and wellbeing we’re talking about here. If you don’t have a problem with gay baseball players, what is the value in carrying water for the bigots who do? You don’t think they get enough time to air their views?

        Spare us your faux high-minded impartiality. It’s embarrassing. And quit evoking biology or evolution biology. They happen to be my areas of expertise, and have no place in this conversation. It isn’t academia.

        (Nevermind that plenty of plausible theories abound for the selection of homosexuality in populations, or that it’s a WIDELY-observed phenomenon in the animal kingdom, or that biological determinism is no way to model a society, on and on and on.)

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      • dwishinsky says:

        “feels compelled to a certain behavior”

        I am straight. I am married. I would never consider loving my wife being “compelled to a certain behavior”. Trying to mask ignorance and xenophobia doesn’t make it OK.

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      • Paul Thomas says:

        What the hell does evolution have to do with morality? Nature is a sick, demented place, in which organisms engage in all sorts of horrendous behavior (starting, but not close to ending, with increasing their own longevity directly through killing other organisms).

        If the best we can do for morality is “it evolved, therefore it’s moral,” then we’d best nuke ourselves and hope whatever the next sentient species that comes along happens to evolve more of a conscience. What an embarrassing position.

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      • Marver says:

        “these are people’s lives and wellbeing we’re talking about here”

        I’m sorry, but defining this discussion using the term “well-being”, while never once mentioning the gross disparity in life expectancy between the two ‘life choices’ is quite a subjective definition of “well-being”.

        What you’re talking about is a society in which one portion of society can freely act without another portion being able to critically analyze the empirical repercussions on other segments of the society.

        It is unbelievable to me that many of you cannot fathom that another person — and, again, this is not me, however much that is being erroneously projected onto me — can take the un-bigoted position that longevity of, and ability to create, life is a reason to approve or disapprove of a given behavioral trait.

        Evan, you’re proving my point on your arguing ability being entirely limited to the perceived virtue in what you are saying. Name-calling the opposition as a spokesperson for a group’s “well-being” (while ignoring their more measurable, immediate plight).

        “If you don’t have a problem with gay baseball players, what is the value in carrying water for the bigots who do?”
        Notice how that is phrased to sound as if anything I have said is carrying water for bigots. The more prudent question can be directed back at yourself: “what is the value in carrying water for the fascists who believe in monopoly of thought in other regions of social policy”?

        And I still don’t think you know your terminology, despite the abundance of definitions I’ve thrown out there. If someone is tolerant, by definition they cannot be bigoted. Your continued blurry of vocabulary does you no good:

        Bigotry: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

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      • Kampfer says:

        I reply to this thread because of Marver’s ignorant comment. Biologists observed that homosexual behavior is likely to be innate and natural, not the other way around. Also, the younger sibling of two brothers is significantly more likely to be gay, even if raised separately without knowing each other. Please do not use the term “biologist” to support your claim until you do some serious researches, thank you.

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      • Marver says:

        Man, you guys know how to read whatever you want into these comments. I never stated homosexuality, for those that are “born homosexual”, was not natural. I stated that the “right conduct” for a penis is with the vagina, and sourced evolution/procreation/biology. That you cannot fathom someone else basing their opinion, which I personally do not, on that is your own shortcoming in comprehensibility (which apparently places you in the majority along with the others in this thread who object to my objection in terms, while they themselves have no clue as to the actual definitions of the terms to which they object).

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      • ChrisFromBothell says:

        Evan, I wish I could thumbs-up your comment a hundred times.

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      • M.Twain says:

        Really, Chris?

        I find Evan’s comments to be too harsh and personal and I don’t think his approach helps the issue. Then again, I didn’t realize there were two Billy Bean(e)s until today.

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      • matt w says:

        Marver, you are aware that many lesbians and gay men have and raise children?

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      • Marver says:

        Of course I am. I am actually an advocate of awarding adoptions to same-sex couples. Nowhere did I say I wasn’t aware of that, nor does that have anything to do with the inability/refusal to pass your genes being an inferiority in the eyes of some.

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      • FCV says:

        Marver, your assertions are quite ridiculous (as is your use of multi-syllabic words).

        There are no arguments to be made that there are non-bigoted reasons to not tolerate people on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race. And your dictionary definitions help you not at all.

        When you disapprove of a biological trait you’re basically disapproving the entire person’s existence. How can you separate something that so quintessentially makes a person? How can you “not-tolerate” a person’s skin color, and somehow not be a bigot? Just as there is no utilitary reason to “not tolerate” a person because of their race, there is none for gender or sexual orientation.

        You twist words. When speaking about well-being, it’s quite clear that it’s not exlusively related to life expectancy. How do you make that jump? When people talk about the equality of races, they’re quite obviously not talking in cultural terms. They’re not talking about the virtue (or lack-thereof) of the tutsis as a culture, as opposed to the tutsis as a race.

        And this “some people might think, BUT NOT ME” line is lame, dude.

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      • Marver says:

        “There are no arguments to be made that there are non-bigoted reasons to not tolerate people on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race. And your dictionary definitions help you not at all.”

        Please read my first post, in which I said “toleration and non-discrimination, sure.” My entire squabble has been the terminology the author uses, and every response seems to include comments regarding terms which are continually being misused. If you don’t want to draw a distinction between the terms ‘tolerance’, ‘bigotry’, ‘acceptance’, etc. then stick to one word (and know what it means). They are not synonyms no matter how much you imply they are.

        Your emphatic assertion that there are NO ARGUMENTS that justify ‘tolerance’ over ‘acceptance’ is such an ignorant statement (seeing as you couldn’t possibly have been exposed to every person’s opinion), and it truly highlights the extent to which enforcing your opinion on others (at the threat of being considered an intolerant bigot) is counteractive to the movement itself. You have somehow made a thoroughly ‘tolerant’ (in its actual definition) individual defend a viewpoint he doesn’t particularly believe in, for reasons having absolutely nothing with homosexuality, but because of the principal of freedom of thought. The arguments for the freedom of thought should be extremely closer to reaching your emphatic assertion of ‘NO ARGUMENTS [AGAINST]’ than nearly any other topic.

        Again, because I am sure it is not getting through:
        “Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”
        “Acceptance: favorable reception; approval; favor.”
        “Bigotry: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.”

        Unless advocates, of which I am, can learn the terminology associated with advocacy, the loose and often interchanged use of the terms only does us all a disservice.

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      • matt w says:

        Marver, the argument about “inability/refusal to pass on your genes” is an idiotic argument in the first place, and you’re a coward to hide behind “some say this” when you’re clearly using it to justify your own bigotry — though I suppose we should be happy that you feel necessary to use this transparent smokescreen instead of being open and proud about your pathetic prejudice.

        But even if there were a modicum of sense to this argument, it would still have nothing to do with being gay or lesbian. Because just as some heterosexuals are unable to or refuse to pass on their genes, many lesbians and gay men do pass on their genes. I have a lesbian family member who gave birth to a daughter, and her “biodaddy” who is very much involved with the family is a gay man. Genes, passed on!

        That you don’t know this — that you don’t even seem to be able to conceive of it — shows how poor your imagination is. Perhaps you should learn a little more about the world. See this movie, which was nominated for a bunch of Oscars. You might find that gay and lesbian folks aren’t so scary after all.

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      • Matt says:

        M.Twain,
        I don’t know what’s worse, that you assume that the uncle and the aunt even know each other or that so many people liked the empty comment.

        RationalSportsFan
        The point was about mandating another person to accept something they don’t believe. One may or may not be reasonable in thier choices about sexuality or their preferred passtime. Mandating another approve of that choice is not reasonable.

        dwishinsky
        Of course we agree on love not being a compelled behavior, and I said nothing opposing that.
        The point was behavior is not a definition of a protected class. Some claim (addicts, homosexuals, etc) that their behavior is not their choice. Regardless, it still doesn’t define them as a protected class. I’m sure trying to mask ignorance or fear of strangeness doesn’t make anything okay, but I don’t see the relevance of that point to this conversation.

        My post was on the point of Marver’s that acceptance shouldn’t be mandated. People of differing religions should tolerate each other. They shouldn’t be made to accept/approve of their differences and not approving of their differences doesn’t mean they hate each other or violate each others’ human rights or anything else. Likewise, people who make different moral choices can be tolerated without being accepted. No, I’m not saying morality is relative, but I am saying that those choices need not be accepted to be left alone. The desire to force one person’s opinion onto another is what is intolerable. Yet, surprisingly enough, those who defend homosexuality (at least here if not generally) seem pretty okay with forcing their will on others.

        So you say it’s not enough to tolerate…you must approve! You would bring on the Thought Police.

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      • M.Twain says:

        “I don’t know what’s worse, that you assume that the uncle and the aunt even know each other or that so many people liked the empty comment.”

        Matt, actually the assumption is they’re not related, the joke is acting as if they are. Sorry if you don’t value humor, but maybe someday you’ll come to appreciate differences between people instead of viewing them negatively.

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      • FCV says:

        Marver, you are free to think whatever you want. I’m not trying to get you think differently per se. I am, however, refuting your argument that there might be well-reasoned arguments to “not tolearate” (let alone discriminate) a person based on biological traits.

        You say (as an example, I get that) that someone might be philosophically against homosexuality on the grounds that it negates a biological imperative (reproduction). Speaking in broad terms, that might be true. However, sexual orientation is a defining biological trait. How can anyone be against something that not only are you BORN with but helps define you as a person? It’s like saying you’re against aeorobic life forms because they exhale carbon dioxide and you’re an environmentalist.

        You might call it freedom of thought, I call it bigotry in sheep’s clothing.

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    • Mr. Clutch says:

      While not an evolutionary biological argument, on moral grounds it is worth noting that there are too many people on this planet already. Failure to reproduce is a success of sorts.

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  10. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    For the record, the high five couldn’t have been invented in 1977 because Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” featured a high five in 1968. That, by the way, is another candidate for first-ever high-five. If I remember correctly, it’s between Hitler and Goebbels during “Springtime for Hitler.”

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  11. Evolutionary Biologist says:

    I am all for human rights, and acceptance of any and all types of humans. But by invoking Jackie Robinson’s name, I feel like the sheer scale of what racism was and is is lost. The magnitude of the billions of Blacks, Chinese, Indians, Moslems, Mexicans, Jews, poor people and other humans typically subjected to racial and ethnic profiling, even today, is much larger than the magnitude of the gay population.

    While the issues themselves are similar, the scales at least are not.

    In the United States, according to exit polling on 2008 Election Day for the 2008 Presidential elections, 4% of electorate self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the same percentage as in 2004.
    In the UK, the UK Office for National Statistics survey have come up with the figure that 1.5% are gay or bisexual, and suggest that this is in line with other surveys showing between 0.3% and 3%.

    That’s not to say they don’t deserve rights and support from the other 96-99.3%, they inalienably do. But this isn’t the same situation as Jackie Robinson who represented a huge chunk of the population. There were many black people who played baseball, who were simply not allowed to play in the MLB until Jackie Robinson came along. There will never be an entire league of gay baseball players who aren’t allowed in the MLB. When a few do come out, I’m 100% sure they will find the glowing acceptance urged for in this article.

    Ultimately, this is a small axe to grind with an appreciated article. It’s a huge testament to the maturity, advancement, and newfound compassion of the human race that we have turned our collective attention to a really small subset of the population, whereas before we were ready to ignore, and in fact enslave, billions. No human left behind.

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    • dwishinsky says:

      I don’t think that discrimination based on the number of people discriminated against justifies or belittles anyone’s being a victim of it. If only one child were raped, should we not address it since it is 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001% of the population? Should it not be considered as big a deal as auto theft which happens to far more people?

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    • Evolutionary Biologist says:

      I didn’t say the small number of it justifies the discrimination. I clearly said the 3% fully deserve the attention, support, and equality of the other 97%.

      I said it can’t be simply mentioned alongside racial issues as an extension of that civil rights fight. They have absolutely nothing to do with one another. A racist can be racist without being homophobic, and there are many of these types particularly in white supremacist circles. And a homophobe might not be racist.

      I understand that a racist hates far more humans than a homophobe, but that doesn’t change the fact that both are wrong. That was never my point.

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      • Brad says:

        “it can’t be simply mentioned alongside racial issues as an extension of that civil rights fight”
        Yes it can. It was. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning it. I agree that the number of people represented by Jackie Robinson is larger. So?

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      • Evolutionary Biologist says:

        Because it’s insensitive, historically ignorant, and stupid. Black people were enslaved on the basis of their skin color, for centuries. Jews were murdered on the score of millions on the basis of their race and persecuted for centuries. Your brain tells you that not feeling accepted is the same as being lynched and enslaved and mass murdered? I’m not saying they’re both not wrong, they are, but excuse me if I think being a slave or being the son of a raped slave or a holocaust survivor is much much much worse than being gay and not being able to announce it to the world. It’s not illegal to be gay in this country, and it’s not even illegal to have gay marriage in many states. So a gay person’s gayness isn’t suppressed, only the announcement of it is, but that too is something that is in the process of being fixed. Completely different from the centuries of slavery.

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      • Kampfer says:

        Just because they do not suffer as much physically, does not mean that homophobic is less an issue in terms of discrimination. In fact, the relatively small population suggests that they may endure more stress, although the stressor(discrimination) is the same, because of the lack of social supports.

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      • delv says:

        Evolutionary Bio – While I sympathize with the sentiment of your comment as a person of color, the fact is that plenty of homosexuals (and others LGBTQIA people) have been killed historically, at times in programmatic ways. It’s not just a matter of being socially suppressed. Also, sodomy is still illegal in many stats.

        That said, I think what you’re identifying is that much of the LGBTQIA-rights movement is being pushed by people who are in positions of socioeconomic strength and status (in other words, gay educated/rich people). They’ve been able to push their movement more effectively than the children of slaves and the colonialized have been able to, because they have the means and status. That’s perhaps what makes things seem disproportionate.

        On a different tip, it’s fascinating how less bigoted these comments have been in comparison to the female-baseball-player articles.

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      • Misfit says:

        Thousands of homosexuals were victimized by Nazi Germany as well. Sent to concentration camps, they had their own special branding and were used for labor, made into lab rats, and some sufferred castration. The intent of the Nazi regime was to exterminate homosexuality, along with the Jews, Romani, Polish, Servs, and any other group I may have forgotten. Basically if you werent a pure-blooded, heterosexual German the Nazis had no use for you. There are children in the world that are the product of corrective rape, a practice in some countries intended to turn lesbians straight. Many of those countries deem homosexuality illegal and will jail individuals for decades for being gay. There are even those who would seek to make it punishable by death, though thankfully that measure was voted down recently in one such country.

        Discrimination isn’t a contest, and trying to determine “which group had it the worst” is both futile and counter-productive.

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      • delv says:

        Misfit: Don’t forget the Romani (gypsies), Bohemians, Freemasons, and marxists/communists!

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  12. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Quick googling. Abbott and Costello high-fived in “In the Navy”, 1941.

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    • Very interesting. From what I’ve read, it sounds like the modern sports high five is often traced to Baker and Burke, but I honestly don’t know the complete history of the hand gesture. That said, I’d be willing to wager that in 1941 it wasn’t called a “high five.”

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      • Paul says:

        But what else can you imagine they would have called it? Like the Apple II had to be invented before somebody could come up with that one…

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      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        You’re almost certainly right. It was during a song and dance number, and the gesture was probably referred to by the choreographer as something like, “Just slap your hands together like this.”

        I haven’t seen the movie, but apparently several characters also high-ten during one song.

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  13. Surrealistic Pillow says:

    I was with the author for most of the way, but he lost me at the end:

    “It’s time to move past arm’s-length words like ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect,’ and move toward words like ‘loyalty’ and ‘love.’ It’s time to move past non-discrimination, and move toward acceptance.”

    I simply disagree with this sentiment. You can tolerate an innate characteristic of an individual (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), but you can’t “love” someone or feel “loyalty” towards someone on account of such a characteristic. All we can ask for is tolerance of those characteristics — aggressively embracing them is just as uncalled for as rejecting them. “It doesn’t matter” is not merely an acceptable approach, it’s the best approach possible.

    Let us value individuals on their personal merits, and let us not allow innate characteristics to colour our judgments — either for better or for worse.

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    • I agree with what you are saying, but I think the author meant using those words where that relationship already exists (like if a long-time teammate came out, hopefully teammates wouldn’t say, “I can tolerate him,” but rather, “We love the guy, he is our teammate, and we’re gonna stick by him.”

      Not sure this is what the author meant, but that’s how I read it.

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    • brandonmdavis says:

      I’m not down with the whole “it doesn’t matter” approach. Speaking of sexuality as an “innate characteristic” is not enough.

      I realize people want to be PC and not offend and be accepting; that’s great. But if we say that things don’t matter, even interpersonally, aren’t we erasing histories and experiences?

      Maybe I’m arguing semantics with you all and I hope that I am. But it definitely does matter to me if someone is gay. Or lesbian, bi, transgender, has access needs, is a different race or religion, grew up poor, and on and on. (I’m not equating any of these, in fact, they’re all quite different.)

      This person likely has been on a tremendously different path through life than I. Plus, the populations to which they may identify with have a history that is all too often marred by nonacceptance and physical violence.

      Simply saying that this does not matter is troubling, at the very least leading to apathy. Someone would likely never say that the slavery that our nation profited from, historically, does not matter.

      Yet when people talk about the far reaching effects of slavery, often times people (especially white) say that talk is ludicrous and believe that we are now living in equality. Or perhaps people get uncomfortable about these subjects and would rather not talk about them, in effect erasing that history and current living environment.

      I fear that in saying the fact that someone is gay “doesn’t matter,” we are perhaps on the road to making a similar mistake.

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  14. Waluigi says:

    WWAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

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  15. short says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the time my wife made me go see “Take Me Out.” I got to watch the guy from Rescue Me woggle his dong for two hours.

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  16. chiefglockandhummer says:

    I predict a Zach Greinke-style when-it-rains-it-pours situation. There will be a first player to come out, and that player will be both accomplished (probably an all-star) AND white, and then within six months there will be twelve more out players.

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    • Abdominal Snowman says:

      And then . . . total bacchanalia.

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    • Evolutionary Biologist says:

      This exciting scenario, while titillating, is highly unlikely. The probability that a person is born gay is in the single digits percentage wise. Your comments suggest the exact mentality I was referencing in my very long post. While the world has descended into a white or black debate of the acceptance of gayness (observe the debate taking place above), everyone on both sides of the debate is categorically ignorant of the probability of the events they are vehemently discussing.

      The probability that a man at any moment is an MLB baseball player is 750/3.6 billion. That amounts to .0000002 or 2 x 10^-7. Multiply those probabilities (2e-7 times .05) and you end up with 10 times 10^-9, or very, very unlikely that a gay man and an MLB baseball player probabilistically coincide in the same man.

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      • Cliff says:

        Is this a joke?

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      • Evolutionary Biologist says:

        What is?

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      • Marver says:

        Bayes. For the love of God, Bayes.

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      • Marver says:

        Unless you’re saying that there are traits that homosexual possess that would deter them from being a baseball player, the number of baseball players who are gay should fall within a normal distribution around the population mean. In other words, the odds are 3% for any given player.

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      • That is the odds of any single person being both gay and an MLB player, right? But you would have to run that formula 3.6 billion times (for each individual male), making the odds extremely realistic.

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      • Evolutionary Biologist says:

        Ah, you’re right. I was treating them as distinct populations. Well my first thought was that it should be 3% as well, but I confused myself.

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      • M.Twain says:

        You could say the same thing about hairdressers and yet…

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      • Phrozen says:

        Wow. You utterly fail at statistics. I mean, absolute complete one hundred percent nonadulterated pure failness.

        It’s much much much much simpler than you’re misguided attempt at forumlas you don’t understand.

        If approx. 3% of the male population is homosexual, then it stands to reason that, without evidence to the contrary, that approx. 3% of the MLB population is homosexual. Given that there are, at any time, about 1,200 active MLB players (30 teams x 40-man roster), it’s safe to assume that there are about 36 homosexual players at any given time.

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      • Evan says:

        Statistics aside, if there was even just ONE baseball player who had to hide who they were this issue would still be important.

        Ultimately it’s a generational thing. The younger generation just doesn’t care. Those fighting equality have already lost, they just may not know it yet.

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      • Evolutionary Biologist says:

        Phrozen, you unmitigated imbecile, I already admitted my hasty oversight. If it made you feel better by writing “fail fail fail”, you’re a pathetic excuse for a human.

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      • Evolutionary Biologist says:

        Those purported 36 homosexuals couldn’t form a 40 man roster by themselves. This isn’t at the scale of the negro league, and homophobia and racism have nothing to do with each other, so I’d rather not have that leap of faith added in to the end of the article. Go ahead and write about the non-discrimination clause. But there’s no need to try say the current gay rights campaign is equivalent to centuries of slavery, rape, torture, murder which was finally overcome very recently. As far as I know, and feel free to enlighten me otherwise, nothing like this happens to gays. They are not enslaved, tortured, raped, lynched, segregated. They are, at most, closeted. And while that’s not right either and should be changed, again it’s just not on the scale and scope of racism. There has never been a genocide of gays as there was against Jews in the Holocaust. People, and nations, with deep feelings of racism have done much worse than any collection of homophobes.

        To recap, my 2 points:
        1) People argue nonstop over issues that only affect 3% of the population. Give the gays rights to do whatever the fuck they like with their free willies, as all heteros can, and move on. Pretty silly for the issue to take up the entire nation’s attention at times. Just give them what they want and move on to issues that affect everyone, such as the craptastic economy and the usurpation of freedom of expression and pepper-spray wielding riot police.

        2) There shouldn’t be any mention of any landmark racial events in any gay rights piece. They don’t carry any causal connection. The people who were racists aren’t the people who are homophobes today. Indeed, the people who were racists could still be racists today, but they’re no longer homophobes.

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      • BbnT says:

        Not that I am holding anyone who mentioned 3% to 3%, but I tend to think that estimate is fairly low

        Not that they are related at all, but just to give context. I remember my biogoly professor stating that 2% of the population is somewhere between gender in some way either physically or genetically

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      • BbnT says:

        Evolutionary Biologist

        I understand the difference in scale of racism versus gender discrimination. Racism has dominated the Christian West (the only realm i can speak to) for a very long time and still exists today, albeit in a much smaller scale.

        But I would argue that hate, towards an individual or groups because of ANY difference in race, creed, color, sexuality and now place in time (ie people not born yet, (I.E. destroying living spaces and squandering resources) is the common thread. Different scales yes, but it’s still hate for no reason except that “they” are different

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      • There has never been a genocide of gays as there was against Jews in the Holocaust.

        Perhaps you weren’t aware of this, but Jews were not the only group that Nazis targeted. The U.S. Holocaust Museum has an online exhibit about the Nazi persecution of gays during the Holocaust.

        The Nazi campaign against homosexuality targeted the more than one million German men who, the state asserted, carried a “degeneracy” that threatened the “disciplined masculinity” of Germany. Denounced as “antisocial parasites” and as “enemies of the state,” more than 100,000 men were arrested under a broadly interpreted law against homosexuality. Approximately 50,000 men served prison terms as convicted homosexuals, while an unknown number were institutionalized in mental hospitals. Others—perhaps hundreds—were castrated under court order or coercion. Analyses of fragmentary records suggest that between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexual men were imprisoned in concentration camps, where many died from starvation, disease, exhaustion, beatings, and murder.

        In the racist practice of Nazi eugenics, women were valued primarily for their ability to bear children. The state presumed that women homosexuals were still capable of reproducing. Lesbians were not systematically persecuted under Nazi rule, but they nonetheless did suffer the loss of their own gathering places and associations.

        Nazi Germany did not seek to kill all homosexuals. Nevertheless, the Nazi state, through active persecution, attempted to terrorize German homosexuals into sexual and social conformity, leaving thousands dead and shattering the lives of many more.

        http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/hsx/

        As to lynching, one doesn’t have to look very far afield to see cases of gays being beaten to death. For example, Marcellus Andrews was beaten to death this August.
        http://www.towleroad.com/2011/08/iowa-teen-beaten-to-death-by-mob-in-anti-gay-attack-video.html

        Perhaps you are arguing that gays and Jews have not faced the same historical discrimination; this is true, and one reason is that the very notion of homosexuality as a distinct class of identity is fewer than 200 years old. For all that, the amount of persecution that has occurred over the past two centuries is rather remarkable.

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      • Rob says:

        Well you’re clearly not an evolutionary biologist..

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      • Paul says:

        Alex: What about Plato’s descriptions of people engaged in exclusive homosexual relationships? Homosexual sex was quite common in antiquity. But it does not make sense for religious law to ban a behavior that has no perceived negative impact on family or community. Gay people shacking up together would seem to be another story.

        Perhaps we have a definition problem here.

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      • Paul, Plato didn’t use the word “homosexual,” because the very concept — in Greek or in English or in German, the language in which it was first coined — didn’t exist until 150 years ago or so. In ancient Greece, there was no concept of “homosexuality” such as the one you impute to Plato, of a class of people who were exclusively attracted to one sex and who should be discriminated against on that basis.

        Gay sex has been treated differently in different cultures throughout history. Obviously, the Bible takes a hard line against gay sex. (Of course, the Bible has no opinion on lesbian sex, nor do many of the texts and organizations that have taken a hard line against gay sex.) The biblical prohibition on gay sex has to be considered in the context of the times, during which gay sex was relatively common in many cultures of the Near East.

        Sex is ancient. But the notion of “sexual orientation” is modern. Similarly, our notions of the shame of sex and sexuality and of strict monogamy are not ancient. They are rooted in Victorian England. In Victorian England, all sex was in the closet. It was that moral code that informed the Hays Code in Hollywood, in which married couples had to sleep in separate beds onscreen and sex was so taboo that it could not even be mentioned. Heterosexual sex has long since come out of that closet onscreen and in society. Straight sex used to be about as unmentionable in polite society as gay sex. It’s only recently that it has become the love that dare not speak its name.

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      • BIP says:

        Alex, you wrote: “(Of course, the Bible has no opinion on lesbian sex, nor do many of the texts and organizations that have taken a hard line against gay sex.)”

        This is false. Romans 1:26: “26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

        This is a clear reference to homosexual behavior by people of both genders.

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      • Foolish slip on my part. I meant to say the Hebrew Bible. I’m less familiar with the New Testament and its prohibitions.

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      • jesse says:

        Wow. Please stop posting as evolutionary biologist. Really giving the profession a bad name.

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      • Phrozen says:

        So, EB, I’m an “unmitigated imbecile?” A “pathetic excuse for a human?” You merely made a “hasty oversight?”

        Nonsense. You’re full of crap and you know it. You simply don’t understand statistics. Which, in turn, leads the informed part of the discussion to believe that you don’t understand any of what you’re talking about.

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  17. EnigmaMachine says:

    Every damn time Alex, how about we talk about how MLB should boycott the Arizona ASG too!

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  18. Lewie Pollis says:

    FWIW, Carl Everett said a few years ago that he’s “had gay teammates [note the plural], whom he has accepted.” Of course, he also said “Gays being gay is wrong” and “I don’t believe in being gay.” Then again, he doesn’t believe in dinosaurs either.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2087125

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    • dwishinsky says:

      I refuse to accept dinosaurs playing baseball and hope everyone will join me. The strike zone on a brontosauraus would alter the character of the game.

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      • iglew says:

        There is no brontosaurus. It’s apatosaurus now.

        The brontosaurus has gone the way of planet Pluto and St Christopher.

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      • LTG says:

        To be clear: the brontosaurus was a mistaken construction. Paleontologists found a headless brachiosaurus body and an apatosaurus head somewhere in the vicinity and stuck the head on the body and called it a brontosaurus. (By the way, spell-check only believes in the brontosaurus.) I believe this happened simultaneously with the discovery of the apatosaurus and it took years to realize the mistake.

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      • adohaj says:

        So if the brontosaurus doesn’t exist it stands to reason that all other dinosaurs may not have existed. I say all these “Bones” they find are just interestingly shaped rocks.

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      • M.Twain says:

        “It stands to reason” doesn’t mean “I can convince myself”.

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      • Phrozen says:

        Clearly you’re not an expert. We need to get an EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGIST on the case at once!

        Maybe he can tell us that the chances of being homosexual are one in eleventy trillion baconator five thousand, and the chances of being a dinosaur ate 0.00000000 x 10^-99999999999; ergo the chance that you are actually a homosexual dinosaur is one out of three.

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  19. Dave says:

    While 3% of all men may be gay (I’ve heard larger numbers, but whatever it is), in theory 3% of any subset of men would also be gay. But I suspect that the macho world of pro (and even college/amateur) baseball, with its tendency to conservatism and homophobia, might discourage some gay baseball players. This selection bias may be even stronger in Latin America (I have no idea) where a substantial fraction of the MLB population is from.

    So if these cultural pressures do indeed exist, the fraction of gay baseball players may be significantly lower than the overall fraction. And if only 1% of MLB players are gay, that’s a pretty small number, and there will be no cascade of coming out announcements. Although that would be cool – certainly cooler than the other ongoing cascade of revealed secrets in sports, coming from Penn State and Syracuse.

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    • Paul Thomas says:

      It’s also possible that the heritable aspects of homosexuality could be correlated with heritable aspects of athleticism.

      For the moment, it makes sense to assume, as a probabilistic matter, that those genes are uncorrelated, because what correlation does exist could be either positive (gays are, on average, more athletic) or negative (the opposite), and we have no scientific evidence– that I’m aware of, anyway– to make either alternative seem more likely. However, that’s a tentative conclusion that could change as knowledge of human genetics improves.

      What it should do is enlarge the (implicit) error bars on how many closeted gay players there are in MLB.

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    • Paul says:

      But why would it be cool for people to “come out”? Wouldn’t it be cooler if they just chose to live however they wanted to, and nobody bothered them about their sex life, like we do with straight people? Isn’t that kinda the point?

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      • Evolutionary Biologist says:

        Exactly why I can’t buy equating this issue with the racism problem that our ancestors just got done recovering from (either as slaveowners or as slaves/freedom fights).

        This is an appearance issue, not one of usurping the very humanity of the player. A gay player can have a guy “friend” over at his apartment to play games and watch a movie and then proceed to other extracurricular activities. No one will question or probe otherwise. He might not have a visible wife or girlfriend, but not all ballplayers do. Some like to remain single and party every night.

        No one is stopping a gay player from being gay. No matter how “macho” baseball culture is, it is infinitely better than other sports. And if basketball could handle a gay CEO in Phoenix, then baseball can handle anything.

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      • MGL says:

        It would be cool to come out, because it might, just might, help young people to accept their and other people’s sexuality, which might, just might, help to decrease the number of young, gay, suicides, homicides, and bullying. That goes for older people as well, of course. The argument that no one should have to “come out” is bullshit until we live in a world where it doesn’t matter to anyone what anyone else’s sexual orientation is and until we live in a world where a person, especially a young person, doesn’t think that there is something wrong with them because they are of a minority orientation or because other people mock and abuse them, sometimes mercilessly and violently. THAT’S why it is necessary to “come out.” Not mandatory, but helpful. Not to mention the fact that it often helps the person coming out to feel better about themselves, if in fact they are not comfortable with their orientation. It’s a personal decision for crying out loud. Again, in a perfect world where is NO intolerance or bigotry toward minority sexual orientations, then “coming out” would presumably not be any more necessary than announcing one’s heterosexuality or one’s preference for a certain flavor of ice cream. But, sadly, we don’t live in that world yet, and may never. Jeezus, use your head before you ask why it is “necessary” to “come out.” Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a connection between teen suicide and bullying, and other people, especially prominent ones, “coming out…”

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      • maguro says:

        “Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a connection between teen suicide and bullying, and other people, especially prominent ones, “coming out…””

        If there is such a connection, shouldn’t the gay teen suicide rate be declining dramatically? There are more prominent people “out” than ever before.

        Seems like a testable hypothesis.

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      • M.Twain says:

        “Jeezus, use your head before you ask why it is “necessary” to “come out.”

        MGL,

        I don’t know why you felt like you had to add that part. The rest of what you had to say was good stuff and leads to some other interesting questions. I’m glad he asked the question.

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      • MGL says:

        Because it pisses me off that an intelligent person would not get that it might be helpful to a young, gay person, to have gay role models or at least to know that there are plenty of prominent gay adults in the world who are not afraid or ashamed of their sexuality. And that the only way for that to happen is for adults to “come out.” And you have to have practically never read anything in order not to know that for some people “coming out” is liberating for them. That, in and of itself, is a good reason for coming out, and it cannot be refuted unless there is some countervailing argument (that “coming out” hurts someone more than it helps the person doing the “coming out”) that I am not aware of.

        But, if you choose, you may ignore or negate my entire post because you didn’t like that sentence. BTW, I didn’t like your use of the word “the” in your post. ;)

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      • MGL says:

        “If there is such a connection, shouldn’t the gay teen suicide rate be declining dramatically?

        No, because there may be 100 other influences that affect the suicide rate that you would have to control for.

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      • MGL says:

        As well, Mr. Twain, the argument “Why is it necessary to ‘come out’?” is suggestive of furtive bigotry, in my opinion, and that really pisses me off. To me, it is the short way of saying, “I don’t mind those gays, but do they really have to tell anyone about it? I don’t want to hear that. It is disgusting.”

        I say, “suggestive,” as I have no way of knowing whether the person who said that (“why do they have to come out?”) is bigoted or not. They may be and not know it. We are all bigoted to an extent. It is human nature, and societal values, even historical ones, become ingrained in us by default. I, for one, have to fight my tendencies toward bigotry all the time…

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      • Paul says:

        But MGL, I asked an abstract question. The original statement was just that he thought it would be cool. How am I supposed to know why he thinks so? Everybody who is relatively intelligent is supposed to be in tune with the motivations of people they don’t know.

        I’ve never had that particular conversation with gay people I know. Because I absolutely could not care one whit about their sex life. And I’m the villain here? Can you see why well-meaning people might be not fully on your side here?

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      • Paul says:

        Just one last thing here. This discussion is really starting to remind me of the line of thought in some circles that Tiger Woods was abandoning his race by not being more Jesse-Jacksonish and just wanting to play golf (and have sex with a lot of women not his wife, as we now know).

        Seems possible to me that however many gay players there are in baseball are NOT coming out specifically because they just want to play baseball, make a living, maybe win a championship before they’re done. To assume that gay players are just itching to come out but for the overwhelming repression of society is just lazy and frankly sad. I don’t assume that a player would want to do anything other than a hetero player would, play the game they love, make a good living, set themselves up for a decent future, win a championship.

        I think it’s sad to assume that gay people do not want the same things from their careers that other do, and are completely consumed with the “responsibility” to be a role model for people they don’t know. The solidarity thing is pretty overplayed, in my opinion. And frankly, if all gay people felt that way, that is what would make me think less of them, not who they choose to sleep with.

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      • Coming out as gay isn’t about being “a role model for people they don’t know,” though that may be a positive externality. Ultimately, coming out is simply about living your life with integrity without feeling the need to hide, cover up, or lie about anything remotely personal about your life.

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      • Paul says:

        So can I “come out” about the long list of shit that my sister and lady friends tell me never to mention to a woman until at least the fifth date? This is actually not a joke. If being gay allows one to live their life with integrity, not needing to hide anything, hold in dozens of farts on first dates, etc., sign me up. This is becoming such a bullshit argument.

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      • Should you fart on the first date? Probably not.

        Should you feel able to tell the truth to a girl that you are on a date with by telling her that you are interested in women? Yes, you should.

        There, you just came out as heterosexual. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

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      • M.Twain says:

        Be careful though, Paul, because once you’re married, you can fart all you want, but you can’t tell your wife that you’re interested in women.

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      • MGL says:

        Paul, you’re not a villain, but come on, you seem like an intelligent person. You mean to say, that it never occurred to you why a person might choose to come out and that it would be a positive thing? That it might be uplifting or cathartic for that person or that it might have a positive effect on other people. That never occurred to you? Come on. And what exactly about what I have said might someone “not be on my side?” That there is no one to whom “coming out” might be a positive and valuable experience (to them)? Is that really refutable? And that it might not benefit some young person who is ashamed or fearful of their orientation and thinks they are alone? That is refutable as well? Those are the only two things I said.

        It is an individual choice. If someone doesn’t feel it is necessary, that is fine. Who in their right mind thinks that it should be mandatory or good for everyone for someone to come out?

        The idea that a presumably straight person, who has NO idea what a gay person should or should not do, would proclaim that no gay person should ever have no need to “come out” is so preposterous a notion to me that I can’t even finish this sentence…

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      • Paul says:

        MGL: The main thrust (no pun intended [thanks a lot Twain]) of my position is that there seems to be this notion that some people hold that it would be really great to see gay players come out as role models. I completely understand that you feel it will help some young gay people if they do that. I really do get that. But have you thought about the effect on the people coming out?

        Again, don’t you think it’s possible that some gay players know that if they come out, while they will be a role model to some, and generally, thankfully in today’s age, they will be accepted for doing so, they will be turned into a freak? And what I mean by that is they will be turned into a Kardashian. I know that a lot of losers on reality TV shows would just kill to be treated like a Kardashian by the media, but for many of us, gay or straight, that would be a horrible, pathetic existence. And it would interfere with the things in life that we really want to do. For a ballplayer who just wants to play ball, I’d feel terrible for them. The same way I was outraged that Christine Brennan tried to turn Tiger Woods into an Uncle Tom just because he wanted to play golf.

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      • MGL says:

        ” But have you thought about the effect on the people coming out?”

        Are you directing this to me?

        I said:

        “It is an individual choice. If someone doesn’t feel it is necessary, that is fine. Who in their right mind thinks that it should be mandatory or good for everyone for someone to come out?”

        And…

        “That it might be uplifting or cathartic for that person..”

        Is there someone suggesting that a person “come out” even if they don’t want to?

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      • Paul says:

        MGL: So now we’re down to, it may held some gay kid somewhere, if a gay player came out. It would be cool, but it would be their choice, to quite obviously affect at least one kid somewhere in the world, for them to upend their life instead of just going out and making gobs of money to play a child’s game and keep their mouth shut.

        You still don’t seem to be willing to consider the point that it is at least possible that gay players don’t come out because there’s really nothing in it for them, not because they will be ridiculed or shunned, or hung from lightpoles. Because other than who they sleep with, gay people are pretty much like the rest of us. Want to be left alone pretty much all the time, make as much money as we can with the least amount of effort, not have a lot of stress consuming us all the time, etc.

        Also, I know Alex is making light of it, but my point about living with dignity is not a joke. Why is a gay player having to sneak around so much worse than the deceptions that multitudes of people live with every day? Sorry, but not everybody who straight gets to live with the absolute dignity and honesty that seems to be assumed here.

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      • Paul, I’m not trying to sidestep your comment. You are creating a false equivalence between the act of coming out as gay — which is often a traumatic experience for many young gay men and women because of the tremendous discrimination they either face or fear to face on the basis of their identity — and other forms of self-disclosure, most of which are simply not nearly as fraught.

        You are very fixed on the notion that a gay person would have no desire to come out. Can you please give me a sense of why you believe this to be true? Is it a personal conversation you’ve had, an experience you’ve had, someone you know or something you’ve seen?

        Here’s an example that has nothing to do with sexual orientation that may nonetheless help illuminate the disagreement you and I seem to have. Suppose you are a Hatfield who lives in a town of McCoys who are unaware that you are a Hatfield. (Or, if you like, a Montague in a town of Capulets.) If any of them were to know that you were a Hatfield, many of your neighbors, with whom you otherwise get along, would be very likely to do you violence and bodily harm. You can live in relative peace with them if you do nothing to admit your family background. But this means that you cannot ever visit your mother’s grave. This means that no member of your family can come to your wedding. You cannot have any photographs of your family in plain view where your neighbors might see them.

        You might not want to “come out” as a Hatfield, because you very plausibly feared violence or death if your neighbors knew that you belonged to a family that they’d sworn to kill. But that means that you either have to decide to be cut off from your family and much of what is important to you — or it means that you have to leave home and can never return. In a perfect world, you would want to just be able to be who you are, free of the fear of violence or harm.

        Does that make sense?

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      • BbnT says:

        Alex,

        Not to speak for Paul, but I think there is a difference for people in the national spot light that Paul is getting at. I would believe it is one thing to come out to loved ones, friends and family. Yet entirely different come out to 335 million people.

        I think the latter opens up a bunch of extracurriculars that most would care not to deal with.

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      • Paul says:

        Alex: I’m not “fixed” on the idea that “a” gay person would not want to come out. I have asked MGL and now you why you would not consider that it may be true for at least some gay people.

        Because a lot of the comments on this thread seem to indicate a myopic view of gay people. What about the Log Cabin Republicans? They are but one example of the notion that not all gay people are the types that you probably encounter all the time on a college campus. I’m using this term broadly, but I think you might find that not all gay people are “activists.”

        The Hatfield and McCoys example actually supports my point that straight people have tons of shit to deal with in their lives that is tragic, it’s not just gay people who have to deal with tragedy, history, shame. The entire country of Germany is another good example. Here is a people that will say on the anniversary of Dresden that “they started it.” Well, actually, they were brainwashed into thinking things that most of them could not know would lead to that, but they’ve internalized it. And it affects every one of them every day.

        Lastly, what Bbnt said.

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      • There are certainly people who make a decision to remain closeted, for a variety of reasons, as I enumerated in my Hatfields and McCoys example. But their reasons for remaining closeted are almost always closely related to the coercion of foreseen or expected bigotry and prejudice.

        If there were no bigotry or prejudice, there would be no closet.

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      • M.Twain says:

        “If there were no bigotry or prejudice, there would be no closet.”

        I’m not sure that’s true, though. I suppose if you expand your definition of prejudice wide enough then it could be. But there are lots of closets that have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

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  20. maguro says:

    This is excellent news. Now if we can just get the Gay World Series to stop discriminating against bisexuals, true social justice can be achieved!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2067533/Bisexual-men-disqualified-Gay-Softball-World-Series-gay-agree-settlement-discrimination.html

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  21. Xeifrank says:

    isn’t discriminating based on sexual orientation in the workplace already against the law?

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  22. Reading through this entire thread, I would set the over-under at 30 for unsound arguments made by commenters.

    Until today, I had forgotten how terrible internet discussion boards are for serious, philosophical discussions. I will save the debating for better media I guess.

    One overall comment though: in this thread, every single argument presented against homosexuality is an argument that has been universally rejected by virtually all philosophers (whether anti or pro-homosexuality). If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can plunge through the thousands of pages of articles about this issue that I have read.

    One other comment: arguments from biological necessity or from “proper” functioning of sexual organs are abject failures, and virtually every philosopher of the last 200 years agrees on this. Again, if you don’t believe me, work through the volumes of material yourself and try to refute what every philosopher (on both sides of the issue) has agreed on.

    There is still a philosophical argument made against homosexuality, but it is not one made yet in these comments. It is an extremely nuanced position that requires strange metaphysical commitments, as well as counter-intuitive results. This is the position of the New Natural Lawyers, which is pretty much the only anti-homosexuality position taken in the philosophical world today.

    And here I go again, debating in the worst medium possible…

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    • Paul says:

      Get over yourself.

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      • Yea, I just reread my post and think I come off as an asshole. Let me try to rephrase things…

        I am a philosopher. It is what I do for a living. So I have seen every one of the arguments made in this thread a hundred times, and everyone in my profession (reasonable people trying to think rationally) rejects these arguments, regardless of the position they take on this issue. So, when I read the same old, tired, wholly rejected arguments being made anew, I get frustrated.

        Sorry if I come off like a know-it-all jerk. But, if a mechanic tells you that you your brakes are squeaking and you should check your brakes, you probably should. And if a philosopher tells you that literally NO PHILOSPHER (person paid to be reasonable) thinks the arguments you are making are any good, you should probably at least consider that before you make those arguments again.

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      • LTG says:

        Paul,

        Imperatives to remain normal are irrelevant. RSF gave first-hand sociological reports to undermine some of the arguments offered here for treating homosexuals as morally inferior. Granted he didn’t give the arguments about which he reported but it is hard to blame him since those arguments take a lot of written space to develop. His use of the term “I” was not braggadocio but merely the indication of eye-witness, as it were, testimony.

        The substance of RSF’s sociological evidence is simply that there are experts on argumentation of what sets of opinions are in fact coherent. We call them philosophers. Most of them have hard-earned degrees. People have opinions and take themselves to have justifications for them. Yet, they do not consult the experts about the soundness of their opinions, just as anyone would consult a dentist for a toothache or a doctor for a broken bone.

        Of course there is a limit to the doctor analogy. While a doctor can answer the question of the broken bone, the philosopher usually cannot the questions she receives. But she can distinguish the good arguments from the bad and thus, the plausible answers from the implausible.

        Telling RSF to get over himself is like saying that to a doctor who calls his patient, who insists he has cancer, a hypochondriac because the patient is in perfect health.

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      • Wow, LTG, you explained what I was trying to say WAAAAAY better than I did. Thank you.

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      • LTG says:

        Your welcome. Let’s just say I’m a fellow traveler.

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    • Marver says:

      I forgot that philosophers as a whole have been 100% right on every topic they have ever philosophized. The fact is different people weigh certain variables differently than one another.

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      • Philosophers as a whole have been wrong, yes (cf. the Middle Ages). But, nowadays, there is a vast diversity of opinion, and even from that vast difference, there is a general consensus among people in my profession (once again, people paid to be reasonable) that arguments from biological necessity, arguments from proper organ use, and arguments from cultural acceptance all fail to establish anything morally valuable. Let me repeat…even philosophers who think that homosexuality is morally wrong reject these sorts of arguments, saying, “We reject homosexuality, but not for these reasons…”

        And yes, it is true that “people weigh certain variables differently than one another,” but surely there is some objective, proper weighing, right? In other words, people can’t decide willy-nilly how much weight to give to various concerns, and allow that decision to be binding. Some concerns are more important than others, and it should be our goal to try to determine what those are, regardless of the outcome of that determination.

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      • Marver says:

        There aren’t many professions outside politics and entertainment in which people get paid to be UNreasonable, are there? What matters are empirical results — ie. what the results of the social policy are — and enforcing someone to abandon their opinion has empirical repercussions that extend outside just this one argument. You are failing to recognize what violating the principle of freedom of thought (or in this case, the freedom to ‘willy nilly weigh a variable’ (as if there is a quantifiable way to measure how much procreation should factor into this argument)) can have outside the realm of just this argument. Thought policing has a much more negative impact than a few individuals choosing to ‘tolerate’ rather than ‘accept’ based on a premise they themselves have decided and you can’t quantifiably dismiss in any truly meaningful way.

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      • BbnT says:

        Insurance providers, certain attorneys, any profession trying to predict the future (i.e. forecasters) and ESPN analysts to name a few

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      • matt w says:

        Good Lord, Marver, telling you that all philosophers think your argument is wrong isn’t “violating your freedom of thought.” Even telling you that you should give up your argument isn’t “violating your freedom of thought.” No one is going to throw you in jail if you hold on to your views. We’re just exercising our freedom of speech to point out that your views are wrong.

        It’s like if you were to say that David Eckstein was the key to the Padres in 2010 because he was clutch and did all the little things right. Most everyone posting at Fangraphs would point out to you that everyone who knows anything about baseball stats thinks that’s BS, and that Adrian Gonzalez was a much better player. That wouldn’t be an infringement of your freedom of thought. You would still be free to use your freedom of thought to think ignorant things; but no one is under any obligation to refrain from criticizing you for them.

        Speaking as another philosopher, you’d do well to read John Stuart Mill’s arguments for freedom of speech. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism; in fact, the marketplace of ideas doesn’t work unless people criticize each others’ ideas.

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      • Marver says:

        Matt W, you did not read what I wrote, or you are reading it through a lens in which you want to read it.

        I’m not saying they are violating my freedom of thought, I am saying it is unethical to call someone “bigoted” when they aren’t a bigot, simply because they won’t agree to the degree in which you are supporting something…especially when the very term “bigot” isn’t used in its actual literal meaning.

        If you can’t see how forcing people to either choose between being falsely labeled a “bigot” or being in “approval or favor” of another person’s lifestyle choices hurts the cause you’re so self-righteously parading, then I cannot help you any further. Enforcing viewpoints on another, in the history of mankind, has not ended well, however well-intended. You need not look further than how affirmative action or “positive discrimination” policies turned out around the globe to see how well-intended policy can have severe backlash when forced upon all: civil war in Sri Lanka, the jettisoning of Singapore in Malaysia, mass starvation (over 1 MM deaths) following expulsion in Nigeria, innumerable atrocities all over India, and economic regression in the targeted groups in the US.

        My point isn’t that gays don’t deserve equality, as is plainly apparent if you actually read and comprehend what I have written, but that the ‘term’ acceptance actually implies more than just equality.

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  23. TexPantego says:

    People hear homosexual and they think interior decorator/hair stylist, etc… but there are TONS of butch gay guys that people would never guess we’re gay because they look like and act and talk like “normal” people. I think a a lot of closeted gay athletes gravitate toward more individual-oriented sports like track, diving , swimming , etc. because it’s easier to stay in the closet.

    Times are really changing though under the radar. In my profession, I deal with tons of kids, and homosexuality is far less stigmatized than it used to be. Being an effiminate gay or a butch lesbian isn’t really all that scandalous as it was in my youth. It’s probably because so many musicians have come out. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t think Freddy Mercury wasn’t a bad ass?

    My guess is, that when the first major gay player comes out, it’ll be a big deal for a week, then become old news. I would hope the player for the sake of the team would do it in the offseason so as not to distract the team during the season.

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    • “I mean, seriously, who doesn’t think Freddy Mercury wasn’t a bad ass?”

      Love it! Best thing said in this whole thread! VH1-Classic showed a Queen concert from 1981 today. Watched the whole thing, mesmerized by Freddy’s awesomeness.

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  24. Phill says:

    I’m gay. I came out to myself at 15…it was a very lonely time of my life. Thankfully I grew up near DC where there support for GLBT teens and by the time I was a senior in high school I took my boyfriend to prom.

    A lot of straight people do not understand how you announce your hetersoexuality almost every conversation you have referencing your wife/girlfriend, or your ex-girlfriend, or who you think is hot, etc.. Coming out as gay isn’t about having people know about our sex lives, its about not having to hide our relationships, where we go out on the weekend, et. Its hard to have genuine relationships with people hiding that part of you self not to mention incredibly nerve racking coming up with lies or wondering what they will think when they find out. Furthermore, its straining on our relationships to lie about them. I had a boyfriend who wasn’t out to his extended family and I had to go to gatherings as his roommate – talk about a nightmare,

    I read this site everyday – I’m a baseball nerd and for better or worse an Orioles fan. I was totally stoked when they made the It Gets Better Video – I can’t imagine how great it would have been when I was teenager to have seen it. When a gay player comes out in one of the big 4 sports in the US it is going to be huge for a lot of gay jocks who aspire to that level but don’t see anybody doing it so aren’t sure it can be done. There are active gay soccer and rugby players who have come out in other countries already so I have a feeling it will be fairly soon.

    I also read the comments on this site and see people using “Fag” on a semi-regular basis. They almost always have tons of dislikes, but its disheartening none the less. Its nice to read this article and some of the support on this thread. Thanks a lot for writing this Alex.

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  25. adohaj says:

    Advocating acceptance is being intolerant. I tolerate homosexuals and many other people. But in no way do I need to accept ANYONE be them homosexual, black, white, jewish or whatever else. Let me think the way I want to.

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    • You are correct. I do not believe in tolerance when it comes to bigotry. I do not condone bigotry. I want to extirpate it.

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      • Agreed completely.

        This “Let me think the way I want to” thought that many have is quite strange. If your belief helps contribute in some small way to the overall, unjust subjugation of a group of people, we should not merely just “let people think what they want to.” Rather, we should try to change those people’s minds through discussions like this.

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      • M.Twain says:

        We should try to change hearts and minds through dialogue, but that dialogue is lost when the argument is essentially: “you think that way because you’re a bigot.” That approach doesn’t change anyone’s mind; it just hardens opinions and censors speech.

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      • You are definitely right, Twain. Calling someone a bigot serves as a conversation-stopper and is NOT helpful in these sorts of discussions.

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    • Marver says:

      Not sure you have idea what can of worms you just opened. I agree wholeheartedly with you, but, unfortunately, many people here have no idea what the terms ‘acceptance’, ‘tolerance’, and ‘bigotry’ actually mean. Be prepared, sir.

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      • LTG says:

        Marver,

        The silence is deafening. And in this case I interpret the silence as agreement with Alex. Claiming that a commitment to tolerance requires tolerating intolerance is akin to claiming that one can have an excess of virtue (i.e., be immoderate in being virtuous).

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      • adohaj says:

        Marver I was reading your comments and I was shocked at all of the negative votes they received. I tried to state your point it in a shorter more to the point manner.

        I just think it is wrong when others label me as a bad person because I think that homosexuality not acceptable behavior. Just because a person feels a certain way doesn’t mean that the feelings are acceptable. Here is an example. Pedophiles have strong feelings to abuse children, but those feelings don’t make abusing a child acceptable.

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      • “I just think it is wrong when others label me as a bad person because I think that homosexuality not acceptable behavior.”

        Agreed. There ARE non-bigoted arguments against homosexuality. I just believe that each of these arguments fail.

        “Just because a person feels a certain way doesn’t mean that the feelings are acceptable. Here is an example. Pedophiles have strong feelings to abuse children, but those feelings don’t make abusing a child acceptable.”

        Again, this is true. If the crux of someone’s argument in favor of homosexuality was merely, “People have these feelings, so it must be okay to act on them,” then that would be a bad argument in favor of homosexuality. Fortunately this is not the only argument in favor of the permissibility of homosexuality, so defenders do not need to rely on it in any way.

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      • adohaj says:

        RatonalSportsFan I’m just curious. Am I a bigot for thinking homosexual behavior is unacceptable because the source of all my morals and truth (the Bible) states it is unacceptable? I won’t chew your head off if you do.

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      • No, like I said, I think there are plenty of non-bigots who are against homosexuality. Someone who uses the Bible as the source of their moral beliefs (and from this concludes that homosexuality is wrong) isn’t necessarily a bigot. Take the following argument:
        P1. If the Bible rejects homosexuality, then it is wrong.
        P2. The Bible rejects homosexuality.
        C. Homosexuality is wrong.

        Someone could believe this is a non-bigoted way. But, I believe premise 1 is false, and that the Bible does not decide what is morally right or wrong.

        So, I would say that you are not a bigot, but that your reasons for opposing homosexuality are bad reasons.

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      • adohaj says:

        Wow you really are Rational after all. And you are on the internet? You are in the wrong place

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      • Marver says:

        LTG, you did not read what I wrote at all. My very first comment, and all subsequent comments, have objected to the term ‘acceptance’. I expressly stated “tolerance and non-discrimination, sure”. The entire crux of my argument is that a commitment to tolerance is ideal, and that a commitment to acceptance only hurts the cause.

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  26. KruegerE says:

    Gay men are weeded out of sports long before they reach the pros. Teenagers are cruel creatures.

    Step in the right direction for sure, lets hope for some trickle down and maybe kids can copy tolerance instead of chewing tobacco.

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  27. Bip says:

    I would think that the percentage of gays in baseball is lower than the percentage of gays in the general population for an obvious reason. Some percentage of the gay population (and probably a pretty significant proportion nowadays) came out somewhat young in life, and considering the discrimination many of them might have faced in high school or college sports, as well as the fact that, understandably, sports are not really part of gay culture, these young people had a much smaller chance of attempting to become mlb players than their typical straight counterparts. In other words, gays are probably underrepresented in the pool of boys who choose to pursue baseball to the point that the only thing separating them from their peers is skill.

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  28. I happened to have known Glenn Burke since the time he was with the Dodgers. I was a sports reporter and photographer for a San Francisco gay newspaper. During the 1977 off season, Glenn was taking part in a gay basketball charity game against the S.F. Firemen, and he asked me not to take any photos of him and I respected his wishes. I had a brief cameo in OUT, The Glenn Burke Story documentary. I recommend that all jocks, gay or straight and people who are not sports fans. It shows what Glenn was up against and light years ahead of his time as an athlete who happened to be gay. It also shows the dark side… after he was injured in an auto accident, he became addicted to pain killers and then to hard drugs. He began to hang around with the wrong crowd. There is no doubt in my mind that he could of became a great ballplayer, except he had homophobic managers that he played for. This is the 21st century, and hopefully athletes will be judged on there skills and not their sexual preferences.

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    • M.Twain says:

      What are you suggesting that his “homophobic” managers should have done differently? If you look at his statistics, it appears that he was given a couple of extended chances and didn’t produce. That’s baseball.

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      • Tommy Lasorta had an openly gay son who spent time with Glenn Burke, and disowned his son when he came down with AIDS. Only after his son died… decided to donate a public park in his son’s name. Billy Martin, who was the manager of the A’s and when Glenn was trying to make a comeback, he was introduced by Martin to new ballplayers at spring training, and Martin added “by the way, he’s a fagot!” You would better understand how things like that made it almost impossible for Glenn to make a comeback. I truly recommend taking the time to see this important documentary… and let’s see if you feel the same way afterwards.

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      • Thanks, Jerry. I’ve been meaning to see the doc but haven’t had a chance to yet, and it doesn’t seem to be easy to find. Any suggestions?

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      • M.Twain says:

        Jerry,

        Taking his sexual orientation out of the picture, you see a guy who was drafted in the 17th round, put up good (but not great) minor league numbers, and performed poorly in parts of four major league seasons.

        It just doesn’t seem like he was handled any differently than other prospects and there doesn’t seem to be anything that suggests he would’ve become a great player.

        That’s not to say the movie isn’t worth watching or that Glen Burke didn’t have real obstacles to overcome. I realize it makes for a better story to think he would’ve become a great player if not for bigotry or prejudice, but the numbers don’t bear it out and this is Fangraphs, after all.

        And is his story really any less tragic just because he was a marginal player?

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  29. FanSince09 says:

    I bet Coal Hammels is very happy about this

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  30. Why does it always seem like the onus is on everyone else if there’s a lack of something?

    There are openly gay people in all walks of life and it’s really not that big of a deal, in general.

    The sentiment seems to be that there aren’t any openly gay athletes in locker rooms is because they won’t be accepted.

    However, athletes like most people, perhaps even more than most people know where their co-workers go and do in their off time and things of that nature.

    The article itself lists players that have known gay teammates and managers that say baseball is ready.

    Now either all of these guys are lying and/or the gay athletes are the best closet gays ever, or there’s other reasons than intolerance for why gay athletes aren’t open about it.

    Another way of looking at it is that athletes likely know of gay teammates. The people that don’t know are the fans. Yet the non-gay athletes don’t feel the need to out the gay ones through the media, social media, etc. That seems pretty darn tolerant and accepting to me.

    In the end, I think the players know, the fans don’t. In other words I don’t think the issue at hand is the macho culture of the locker room, although its an easy, faceless scapegoat.

    I also think athletes are well aware of who goes in and out of their teammates hotel rooms and keeping something like that secret likely requires world class espionage skills.

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    • The onus isn’t necessarily on everyone else in all cases when there is a lack of something.

      But when it comes to coming out… it is hard to argue that coming out is still a difficult and often traumatic process. Ask anyone you know who has ever done it. It is rarely easy.

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  31. Alex,

    I agree. My feeling is that there isn’t presently an athlete that wants be “the gay athlete” for all of sports.

    I think they aren’t ashamed necessarily of being gay, they just want be an athlete and keep their personal matters private without being a national icon.

    It would likely be difficult for fans as well to just look at them as a regular athlete and not have the label “the gay athlete” follow them everywhere, especially considering all of the attention they would get, regardless of whether they wanted it or not.

    Coming out likely means a great reduction in their privacy as well as less focus on their on field performance.

    We see some of the pressure on Braun despite being half-Jewish and non-practicing. The pressure on a gay athlete to attend functions and speak up in support and representing the gay community is going to be intense. I don’t think any guys at this point want that pressure.

    I said what I did because of your last couple paragraphs where I perceived it to be assigning intolerance to the sports community.

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    • I think it’s fair to say that intolerance may not be the only reason that someone would want to avoid being the first athlete in American men’s professional team sports to come out as gay. The unceasing attention from paparazzi, tabloid back pages, radio hosts, television anchors, and all the rest is awful enough for straight players.

      That said, I think that there still is a certain level of discomfort that will always remain until someone chooses to be the first to come out. It will take a great deal of courage to do so.

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  32. DLoth says:

    Lots of other people have already said it, and I presume nobody will ever read this response, but this is a great article.

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