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Rosenthal: MLB execs say openly gay player would be welcomed

Feb 10, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT

Michael Sam AP

Amid the news of NFL draft prospect Michael Sam coming out, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal asked seven MLB executives whether they would welcome an openly gay player to their organization. In contrast to SI.com article where anonymous NFL executives said Sam’s admission would cause his draft stock to fall, all seven MLB executives went on the record and said that they wouldn’t have an issue signing an openly gay player.

Below is one example of the feedback, but make sure to read Rosenthal’s entire column for more reaction around MLB:

“If the reports about his football ability and character are accurate, we would sign the baseball Michael Sam in a second and be a better organization for it,” Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein said.

Teams are willing to sign the most talented players regardless of their sexual preference? What a concept. The first player to come out in MLB will obviously be a big deal and command plenty of attention, but here’s hoping that the issue becomes irrelevant before long. Sam’s announcement yesterday was an important step on the road to mass acceptance.

  1. shawnuel - Feb 10, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Geez, what else WOULD they say?

    • richarddansky - Feb 10, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      What all those anonymous NFL execs, coaches and scouts said?

    • cur'68 - Feb 11, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      They could have stayed off the record and said “Hellz to th’no” or some derivation of that. Instead, they stuck their faces out there and said “But of course…”

      The option of going on the record or not was open to them, so anonymous comments like the NFL execs made were available to them as well, y’see.

  2. historiophiliac - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:48 AM

    Money quotes: “…considering college football players rarely are confused with renaissance men”…”[having a gay player on an NFL team] would chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.” (emphasis mine) I’m assuming the follow up quote was: “Literally.” Then dudes bumped chests and went back to painting a still life of locker contents.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      Forgive my crassness, but it’s needed. Charles Haley used to masturbate in front of his teammates while he played on the Cowboys. They only won three Super Bowls with his “distractions”.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        I wonder why I just gave this a thumbs up. I dislike the Cowboys. I’m opposed to masturbating in front of teammates.

        And yet, here we are.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        He was just spreading the straight-man testosterone though, so that actually improves the chemical balance in the locker room. If he were gay, the cooties…THE COOTIES!!!!

  3. yahmule - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    Major League Baseball has certainly been at the forefront in helping gay players feel comfortable about living open lives. I really have a hard time naming them all.

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      No you don’t. You named every one.

  4. doctorofsmuganomics - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:04 AM

    Suddenly the hiring of Brad Ausmus is starting to make sense.

  5. plmathfoto - Feb 11, 2014 at 4:14 AM

    Jarred Cosart begs to differ

  6. autmorsautlibertas - Feb 11, 2014 at 5:47 AM

    Of course they are going to say they would sign these players. Nobody wants to be branded as a “bigot”. In reality, unless the guy is the second coming of Babe Ruth, they would probably find a “legitimate” baseball talent reason not to sign the guy.

  7. newpairofsox - Feb 11, 2014 at 6:55 AM

    Mr. Sam is a very courageous man. His statement has made not one, but two professional sports leagues confront their fears and prejudices. I hope the statements from Theo and other prove genuine.

  8. paperlions - Feb 11, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    I would imagine that many long-time MLB vets could make a similar statement to that of Matt Birk (15 yr offensive lineman, retired):

    “Over the years I can think of 10, maybe 12 guys that I played with that I know are gay. Everyone on the team knew they were gay, and they knew that everyone knew they were gay. They didn’t take that step of going public, but it never was an issue in my experiences.”

    I am willing to be there have been dozens to 100s of openly gay baseball players, just that the level of “openness” was restricted to family, friends, team mates, and co-workers. Do you have to announce that you are gay to the media/fans/public to be “openly gay”? Is there a difference between not hiding your sexuality and announcing it?

    I really think the fans and media are the ones that will make a big deal of this, not the players or organizations.

    • stex52 - Feb 11, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      It would be nice if you were right and this died down quickly. I have a poor record of predicting public response to this sort of thing, so I will just have to watch and see.

    • yahmule - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      “Do you have to announce that you are gay to the media/fans/public to be “openly gay”? Is there a difference between not hiding your sexuality and announcing it?”

      Considering how many young people in the LBGT community commit suicide every year, I think it is vitally important that some pro athlete in a major team sport announce that he’s gay.

    • largebill - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      I don’t think the great majority of fans would make a big deal out of it. It’s a goofy personal decision, but most people don’t really care about others doing goofy stuff. The media however has a vested interest in making it a big deal. The media will focus on the couple idiots who make a scene or protest. The idiots will be newsworthy. The 99% who don’t give a darn won’t be newsworthy.

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      To expand on Yahmule’s comment, some actors have openly declared their preference with the idea towards countering precisely those troubling stats from the LBGT community (BTW wouldn’t it be nice if we were all just ONE community?)

      • paperlions - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        It would. I’m not sure I am ready to be part of a community that includes Philly phans though.

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Besides ‘cepts we’re not all bad you know.

      • paperlions - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        I know….but that doesn’t mean the joke isn’t fun to make. :-)

      • NatsLady - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        You’re a lot nicer since we have Jayson :). Also helps that we can fill up our ballpark now without you.

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Glad to be of service! Hey, SOMEBODY had to fill that park at the time! You may regret having Jayson in a few years though.

  9. coffeeblack95616 - Feb 11, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    It will be nice when the media will stop obsessing over which players like to have sex with other men. I wonder how much this is the media’s creation as they fall all over themselves to show how they are at the front of what they see as the new Civil Rights Movement.

    • paperlions - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      Yeah, it really sucks when people have a competition to see who is the better human being.

      Do you prefer people that fall all over themselves to show how racist, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic they are?

    • 18thstreet - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Right. They should spend more time focusing on important issues, like who Tom Brady is dating or how many women Wilt Chamberlain claims to have slept with. These things are utter mysteries, because the media only covers sex lives when the subject is gay.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      It’ll be nice too when everyone stops defining sexual orientation simply as having sex with men or women.

      • dexterismyhero - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:12 PM

        Hey now historio! Maybe it should read when everyone stops defining sexual orientation simply as having sex with men or women from the media!!!

      • historiophiliac - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        historiophiliac is very, very grateful not to have a Shaughnessy-orientation. Blech.

  10. mauldawg - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    What a waste of space. Talk baseball not some attention whore wanting his name in lights.

    • yahmule - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      You’re a waste of space.

    • aceshigh11 - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Let me guess: Republican?

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 11, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Responding to stereotypes with stereotypes. Nice.

      • aceshigh11 - Feb 11, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        Riiiight…because what he said just SCREAMS tolerant, accepting liberal. I’m sure he’s a champion of gay rights.

        The guy showed his hand with his comment. I wasn’t stereotyping; he stereotyped himself.

    • sportsdrenched - Feb 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Question for you. If you didn’t want to read about this…WHY DID YOU CLICK ON THE STORY!

    • 18thstreet - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      I’m a regular around here, and I can’t recall seeing your name in the comments before. (Doesn’t mean my memory’s perfect, of course.) But it is interesting that THIS is the thing that you’re commenting on today. And I wonder why that is.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        I do appreciate that he used the term “whore” though. So, you know, women and gay men.

  11. 18thstreet - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    I recommend this piece, “Grotesque NFL reaction to an openly gay player proves why Congress must pass non-discrimination law.”

    http://pando.com/2014/02/10/grotesque-nfl-reaction-to-an-openly-gay-player-proves-why-congress-must-pass-non-discrimination-law/

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Assuming Congress could pull their head out of their ass long enough to actually pass a law, do you actually think they wouldn’t find a grand way to screw it up?

      • dexterismyhero - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        then they would continually change and tweak the law over the next 3 years.

  12. pundyveit - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    It’s a minor thing, but it would be nice going forward if the HBT and PFT writers would correctly refer to players’ sexual orientation rather than their sexual “preference.”

    • yahmule - Feb 11, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      You make a great point. It allows the morons who want to call it a choice too much wiggle room.

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      Good point. I have been guilty of using the wrong term, I shall adjust accordingly.

    • sportsdrenched - Feb 11, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      Good call. As my wife and I have got to be good freinds with a lesbian couple I’ve come to understand how even the slightest change in phrasing can make a big difference.

      • dexterismyhero - Feb 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        Yep, that awkward moment of silence. then everyone breaks out laughing and you pour more wine!!!

    • Reflex - Feb 11, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Thank you, I was perusing the thread hoping someone called it out, now I don’t have to. There are certainly some for whom it may be a preference, bisexuals for instance, but someone ‘gay’ does not have a preference, they have an orientation.

  13. scout144 - Feb 11, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Really don’t make much of a difference, symantics, really don’t give a rats ass as to what they do in there personal life as long as they don’t try and force their views on me and that I have to accept what they do. It was there choice and my choice not to acknowledge it. Seems they may have a problem with that, but, this is America, so they say and we have the right to believe in what we want! So I believe everyone should auit making a big scene about it. BTW this guy is no Jackie Robinson, and I am not black either, for someone to even closely compare him is very wrong. But then agiain, this is America.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      There is no choice, and the sooner you accept that that, the better. And please point out one person who has tried to “force their views” upon you? I bet you can’t, because it never happens. However, I can put out hundreds of examples of Christians pushing their views upon the US at large.

      but, this is America, so they say and we have the right to believe in what we want!

      Yeah that’s not what is said. As an “American” you should at least learn what rights you do and don’t have.

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