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Torii Hunter says having an openly gay teammate would be “difficult and uncomfortable”

Dec 30, 2012, 6:03 PM EDT

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The math says that Torii Hunter — a 16-year major league veteran who has played with several hundred different teammates over the course of his amateur and professional baseball careers — has probably shared a clubhouse with a gay man. But math and science and reality aren’t things that the 37-year-old outfielder chooses to dabble in. Neither is decency.

This comes from an article on sexual orientation in the realm of high-level professional sports, written by Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times:

Former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, among baseball’s most thoughtful and intelligent players, isn’t kidding when he says an “out” teammate could divide a team.

“For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” he says. “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”

Difficult and uncomfortable? Poor Torii.

The New Testament spends many more pages preaching love and acceptance than it does condemning homosexuality, and it’s quotes like Hunter’s that will prevent any true progress from happening in MLB.

Then again, we can’t expect a known conspiracy theorist to think — or speak — logically.

352 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. jerlee7 - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Speak against homosexuality = you are an awful person. Speak for it and be a visionary. C’mon

    • paperlions - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      Feel free to list all of the virtuous reasons that lead one to “speak against homosexuality”.

  2. bat42boy - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    I agree with Tori. It would be uncomfortable especially in the club house. He’s just telling the way it is. People get a life and get some morals.

    • yahmule - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Get a fucking brain, asshole.

    • IdahoMariner - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      I get that if homosexuals make you uncomfortable, it is easiest to cast it as a “morals” problem — but many (not all, just like with straight people) many homosexuals are deeply moral people — many are even devout Christians and Jews. Homosexuality is not a question of morals, and acceptance of the existence of homosexuals is likewise not a question of morals.

      What IS a question of morals, however, is whether we can all accept each other, even the parts that make us uncomfortable, without persecution or violence (whether verbal or physical), and realize that all of us are just trying to muddle through life, seeking the same things — family, security, doing something we love or are good at (like, say, baseball).

      • normcash - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:51 AM

        Well said! What’s really ironic is that before the color barrier was broken, many white players, especially from the south, claimed that they’d be “uncomfortable” around black teammates and were repelled by the thought of showering with them. Hunter ought to
        study history a little bit.

    • bdawk20 - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      The fact that you think this is a moral issue proves that you are an idiot. People do not decide to be gay, they are born gay. Those who hide behind God to say they are against homosexuality should question why God makes people gay. I would think it is not because he wants you to show prejudice. For those who are not religious, it’s the way a body is programmed. Get over it.

      • beaston - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:18 PM

        I can agree with that philosophy. However, knowing that if a person proclaims to be homosexual , it will cause some persons to feel uncomfortable; they do it anyway. This is suppose to be acceptable. Now, when a non-homosexual speaks their piece about it, people get upset. If your homosexual, great, don’t shove it down my throat. Also, if a person feels the need to proclaim their sexual preference, then they need to be ready for people that don’t agree. My question is, who cause? I don’t need to tell the world I’m straight, so why does a person need to say they are homosexual? Answer me that.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:28 PM

        beaston, so you’ve never broadcast your sexuality by proclaiming a random girl to be hotor saying “I totes wanna pork Bea Arthur”?

        Then you are the minority amongst heterosexual men because sexuality aside, most men broadcast their attractions publicly and frequently.

      • bdawk20 - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:32 PM

        The majority of people are not homosexual, so there is a difference when identifying yourself as straight vs gay. That said, my comment was geared towards the morality of it vs whether or not someone chooses to scream it from the rooftops. I am not a homosexual, but claiming you don’t like it because the bible tells you it is wrong shows a severe lack of understanding given that Torri has shared a clubhouse with plenty of players who cheat on their wives, have children out of wedlock, etc. Does that make him uncomfortable to? Of course not, because he understands it.

  3. ningenito78 - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    To be clear, everybody saying that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay I couldn’t agree more. I wish everybody felt that way. But they don’t and never will. The assault on the opinions of those that disagree is just as bad as the opinions themselves. And if you can’t see that then you really don’t understand freedom of speech. And if you don’t like freedom of speech I hear there’s a ton of real estate available in communist China.

    • thereisaparty - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      You seem to not understand freedom of speech. Torii is/was/will be allowed to say such things. And I am able to say that his opinion is upsetting and backwards. Not sure what objections to ignorance have to do with freedom of speech.

    • indaburg - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:56 PM

      I think most of us who disagree with Torii’s opinion are not arguing against his right to state that opinion. We are using the same right he used to express our disagreement with his opinion. And if you don’t understand that, you don’t understand the way the First Amendment works.

      “I wish everybody felt that way. But they don’t and never will.” That is a total cop-out. Of course there will never be 100% consensus on any issue. However, to say that is to ignore the reality that opinions and feelings can change over time. For example, in 2004 only 22% of Americans supported gay marriage. In 2012, that number was up to 51%. Among the younger population, that number is much higher.

    • normcash - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:54 AM

      Freedom of speech also includes the right to tell someone who says stupid things that the things they say are stupid.

  4. spizotfl - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Wonder which would be more difficult: a gay teammate or a teammate who willfully puts others at risk by driving under the influence? Which one is more likely to destroy a family? (Hint: it’s the drunk driver, even if he is the MVP of your new team)

    • historiophiliac - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      Sadly, I don’t think my ex-bf Torii is the only homophobe in the D. I expect that the Tigers will not be the ones to welcome the first openly gay player in their clubhouse. I wish it were otherwise, but that is my expectation.

  5. ningenito78 - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    That is actually the exact opposite of how it works.

    Governments don’t repress the opinion of the majority. They repress the ideas of the minority to keep them from spreading.

    That’s why I said ‘governments DON’T tend to repress the unpersecuted majority’.

    • tfbuckfutter - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      Learn to use the Reply button if you want people to follow your thoughts.

  6. tfbuckfutter - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    I find fat chicks unattractive.

    I would be uncomfortable working with someone who banged fat chicks.

    I can’ t imagine disassociating who someone bangs with their value as a person. But I’ m not judging or anything, just saying…..anyone who isn’t physically attracted to what I am is unnatural and obviously not what God wants*

    *my dick speaks for God

    • tomtravis76 - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      Banging big girls is fun. You haven’t lived until you have f’ed a big girls fat roll.

      • brianjoates - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:56 PM

        Fat Rolls are fun stuff, kinda like ti11y f-ing.

  7. boyofzimmer - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Anyone who quotes Billy Graham in their defense loses. At least most if the comments illustrate that baseball fans are intelligent. Opinions of high profile sports athletes matter to influential kids… Therefore we can choose to speak out when said opinions are untrue, hateful, and dumb. Tori Hunter, focus on being a better father… Check back stories if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Seriously, you shouldn’t be throwing stones!

  8. ningenito78 - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    I understand freedom of speech just fine. You are allowed to disagree. But the general theme that Hunter isn’t supposed to say what he said is what the last 100 plus posts are saying. Get it?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

      No one has commented that Torii isn’t allowed to say what he said. We’re merely saying he’s a uneducated bigot for having that belief.

      • 1historian - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:38 PM

        All he is saying is that he would feel uncomfortable. You – and most others – IMMEDIATELY jump on that statement to label him a homophobe.

        Thanks for your intelligent contribution to the discussion.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:09 PM

        He is a homophobe. Change the statement from gays to blacks, or asians, or white people and make the same comment. The fact he’s using a religion as a justification for it makes him a bigot, and uneducated.

    • IdahoMariner - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      also, in the context of the article, Hunter (or the writer) is implicitly saying that Hunter believes that his uncomfortableness with it would create divisiveness in the clubhouse, thereby, again, working to discourage any gay teammate from feeling like they could be accepted fully as a teammate if they came out.

      Which, actually, makes the clubhouse an incredibly uncomfortable, difficult place for the teammate — in an atmosphere where you are all supposed to work together to achieve a common goal, you will be rejected for a characteristic that has nothing to do with your ability to contribute toward that common goal (yes, exactly like being black — homosexuals can’t change it any more than blacks can change being black — it’s just not as easy to see). What Torii is saying is that his comfort is more important than the team operating as a team, or his teammate’s comfort, based on his religious views — which he is entitled to, but which are based on what I believe is a terribly misguided reading of the Bible.

      So, yes, Torii is entitled to his opinion. So are every single one of the people posting comments in opposition. (I wish that several of those responses were more civil, but that is the nature of free speech ). But Torii’s opinion carries a lot of weight, as a current member of a clubhouse, and as an allegedly “intelligent and thoughtful” baseball player (that seems crazy to me in the context of a lot of his previous statements, but ok)…and because of that weight, his opinion can have the effect of chilling debate within his clubhouse — but more importantly, I think, slows progress toward a time when we can stop having these conversations.

      Because I disagree with him, and because I know how much damage opinions like his have done historically and currently, I have a moral responsibility to say I disagree, and to continue the discussion. THAT is free speech.

  9. Charles Gates - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Why are we criticizing Hunter and not the bible itself?

    • yahmule - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:22 PM

      Feel free to criticize the bible. The Big Book of Bad Ideas deserves plenty of criticism. Ask the thousands of children in Africa being burned alive as witches.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 PM

        The things that go on in Africa and non-first-world nations are both horrifying and often unreported here.

  10. ningenito78 - Dec 30, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    IdahoMariner- you are 100% right. However, the consensus here is that ‘if you don’t agree with me, you are a fucking moron’.

    • tfbuckfutter - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      Not understanding how a forum works makes one more of a moron than any opinion could.

    • IdahoMariner - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      ningenito78 — I agree that people could be more civil and less violent with their language. And as someone who wants the conversation to move forward, I wish that they were — because I think we get farther towards changing peoples’ minds when we are less dismissive of and rude towards others. So, I have understood your comments to be pleas for less vitriol. But a lot of what you have been saying is coming across as “you can’t say anything against someone once they have expressed their opinion.” And that just isn’t the nature of healthy debate. And in fact, is part of why we have taken so long to get to this point — people who believe as Torii does have expressed that opinion and not been challenged for too long, leading people who believe otherwise to refrain from expressing their opposition because they feel they are alone and will be persecuted. And the cycle is finally being broken, and we are moving forward, in large part because a lot of people have come forward and challenged that opinion — at great risk to themselves, especially in the early days.

      So, yeah, debates shouldn’t be all f— you and f—ing moron, because that really doesn’t get us anywhere.

      On the other hand, there is a huge part of me that is happy to see that the passion and vitriol is swinging to the other side of the debate — ie, that people finally feel comfortable about speaking up and are clearly passionate about expressing support for people who have historically not enjoyed that kind of support.

    • easttoak - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      I think that reaction of which you speak is based on Hunters suggestion that if you don’t have the same sexuality as him, you are not right. I don’t know why you think he gets a special pass here.

  11. boyofzimmer - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    And some of your teammates with daughters might be uncomfortable that your son is an accused rapist.

    • drewsylvania - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:43 PM

      I suspect he also is uncomfortable with that.

  12. bellerophon30 - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    For $16 million I know there’s quite a bit I would put up with that I’m not comfortable with. That said, he’s entitled to his views, however narrow minded they are.

  13. yahmule - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    I’ve always said Torii’s nice guy image was a load of bullshit.

  14. drewsylvania - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Doesn’t mean Torii’s a bad person–we don’t really know any of these people–but it does mean he’s been indoctrinated. Maybe having a gay teammate would be difficult and uncomfortable–but then, the same was true for Jackie Robinson’s teammates.

    And just as it was for Jackie, it’s already difficult and uncomfortable for any player in the closet.

  15. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Dec 30, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    I’m a Christian, and I believe homosexuality is a sin.

    However, I also believe that sex outside of marriage is as well, and I can guarantee that the vast majority of Hunter’s teammates over the years are guilty of that. Why doesn’t that make him uncomfortable?

    I’m tired of so many Christians elevating homosexuality as the ultimate taboo while often ignoring sins of their own. Just because it’s completely contrary to what YOU would be tempted by doesn’t make your sin any less than his. And I guarantee you Jesus would never say to the media that simply working with a homosexual is uncomfortable or gross or whatever. That’s not loving and it’s also hypocritical.

    We claim(in general) to love the sin but hate the sinner when defending our stance against homosexuality, yet the insistence on elevating it over almost all other sins suggests otherwise. A little humility in the church would go a long way, and we definitely need it.

    • IdahoMariner - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      well said. cant improve on that a bit.

    • normcash - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:59 AM

      I appreciate the spirit behind your comment, I really do. But understand this: when you use the “love the sinner but hate the sin” oldie but goodie, it is DEEPLY offensive to a gay person.
      Don’t hide behind your asserted Christianity to excuse your prejudice.

  16. ebrownwareagle - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    It’s Pretty Damn Sad that this man was asked a question in which he was honest about. No malice intent in his speaking and no gay bashing… Yet he is being Condemn for his beliefs, which he did not force upon anyone else. Instead of being applauded for his honesty whether people like it or not. That Speaks Volumes About AMERICA and the PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN IT!!

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      You obviously don’t realize it, but it says much, much more about you (and Hunter).

      • protius - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        Tolerance is a double-edged sword. Be careful you don’t cut your arm off as you execute those you can’t put up with.

  17. mbroermann - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    I applauded Hunter for being honest!! I feel our nation is in the shape we r in not because of our inept leaders but bc we as citizens have not stood for what we believe and what our country was founded on!! God!! We have become way to accepting as a society

    • dprat - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:25 AM

      “…what our country was founded on!! God!!” [citation needed]

      • paperlions - Dec 31, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        Apparently, that “god” was a huge supporter of slavery and thought women were second class citizens that couldn’t vote or own land. What the country was founded on was the idea that rich white guys should be able to keep their profits without being taxed by the king….of course, now we have a similar system in which government taxes the working class to give the money to the wealthy. Funny, really.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      Go look up an online copy of the Constitution, then do a Find All search for the word ‘god.’ Get back to me with how many times it shows up, and then we can talk about whether or not our country was founded on it.

  18. loungefly74 - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    “For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right”….yeah…about 99% of Christians dont fully pratice what the “good book” says to do 100% of the time. ( if ya think ya do, youre f*vkin’ lying to yourself…and your god knows it, ya pathetic sheep)

    anyway, Torri is a homophophic jerk. thank (whoever) that society is getting their sense’s right about human beings.

    f*ck all that dogma sh*t. its all made up. freakin’ stories to scare you dumb sheep. bible? an adult fairy tale…along with the koran, torah, ramayana, etc…this world will be a lot better without any dicriminating religion.

  19. lewp - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Since when did we make it a practice of judging people’s personal beliefs?

    • tfbuckfutter - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:46 PM

      Just so we’ re clear… are judging people for judging Torii for judging people?

      • protius - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:15 AM

        It’s fucked up, isn’t it? None of it is right.

        We either believe in tolerance and understanding, or we don’t. We either try to communicate with those we disagree with, or we don’t. We either agree to disagree, like we do with so many other things, or we become the thing we abhor.

        We cannot force our beliefs on others; we would rebel if they tried to do the same to us, so that is the test of right and wrong. Treat others, as we would like them to treat us. It sounds way corny, but it works for me.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Since the KKK was hanging folks like Hunter for being black. And before that, too, but I thought that one was most appropriate here.

  20. mamsy2000 - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM


  21. 1historian - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Say you have a teammate who is about 5″ taller and 50 pounds heavier than you and one day the two of you are the last ones in the shower and he looks at you and gets a serious woody.

    How enlightened is that?

    • tfbuckfutter - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      What kind of man walks around petrified of being raped?

      My guess….not much of one.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:47 PM

        How about a man who was raped before?

      • yahmule - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:50 PM

        This is the emotional intelligence level we’re dealing with here.

  22. SOBEIT - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    What an idiot. Does he remember that there was a time when white people felt uncomfortable sharing a locker room with a black guy. And using religion as a shield is just cowardly.

    • yahmule - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:52 PM

      The bible was also used as an excuse for slavery. Mainly because the bible condoned and encouraged that disgraceful practice.

  23. natslady - Dec 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    I think, in the end, I feel pity for Torii Hunter. Because if he is “uncomfortable” around gay people he is missing friendships with a lot of smart and worthwhile guys (and gals) in this world. I hope he opens his mind to his fellow human beings.

    • tfbuckfutter - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      Are you suggesting that beneficial and satisfying relationships can be found outside of like- minded groups who never question or challenge ideas and beliefs?


  24. middy8484 - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    He is right to say that. I would be the same way about fa@S

    • drewsylvania - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      What you think =/ what is right

    • normcash - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:01 AM

      I can assure you, middy, that the feeling would be mutual.

  25. lionsplayoffs - Dec 30, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Nobody said athletes were smart.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      Some of them are quite intelligent, just like the general population. Some of them are ignorant bigots, just like the general population.

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