The NBA has had an openly gay player and the NFL drafted its first openly gay player this year. Major League Baseball, though, has lagged behind the other two big men's pro team sports in discussion of the issue. Members of the Toronto Blue Jays say the time has come for this to change.
"I think the environment is ripe for someone to do it," said Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Star, who added he would have no problem playing with a gay player. "Not at all," he said. "Chances are I probably have."
Dickey's views were echoed by teammates Adam Lind and Jose Bautista. Lind said that "It'll eventually happen," while adding that baseball's culture might make it more difficult. "This is baseball. We've got a lot of guys from the south and from small towns, where it's just not accepted. But there's also guys it won't affect at all, me being one."
Bautista expanded on what Lind said:
"Men are going to be men and this is still a macho society. There's still jokes and comments and stuff that always go around, and I think it'll be a while until that dissipates. But it's the same with other aspects of life - with racial stuff, with (sexism) - society's changing, but it takes a while to adapt. We're all human; I don't think anybody should be taking too much blame or too much fault into the fact that it's a slow process. It's just, I guess, the way the masses work, slow adaptations at a time."
Many argue that Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers was openly gay in the late 1970s, but while Burke was out to many -- if not all of his team -- his story never went public and was told after he retired. Billy Bean came out in 1999 after he retired, but no other ex-players have done so since.
The article quoting the Blue Jays focused on Matt Kaplon, who was openly gay on his Drew University baseball team. "I had this idea in my head that it wasn't OK because I didn't fit the stereotypes that society has for gay people and for gay men in particular," Kaplon said. "My biggest fear was that I wouldn't be accepted, that I wasn't going to be one of the guys anymore."
Kaplon was wholeheartedly embraced by his team, something that hopefully will occur in the big leagues soon.