Billy Bean, the former Major League Baseball player who is openly gay and is now the sport's Ambassador for Inclusion, donned a New York Mets uniform Tuesday as he raised awareness for gay ball players. One Met, Daniel Murphy, was glad Bean came to visit even if he disagrees with Bean's sexual orientation.
Here are Murphy's entire quotes, as reported by Mike Vorkunov of New Jersey.com:
Murphy is ready for a gay teammate, he says. The Mets consulted players this winter before bringing Bean in and Murphy called the idea "forward thinking." More than just listening to a seminar or speech, it was an opportunity to get to known an individual. He regretted that he had not had the chance to meet Bean yet.
Murphy, a devout Christian, said he would embrace Bean despite a divergence in their beliefs.
"I disagree with his lifestyle," Murphy said. "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn't mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him. I don't think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent."
But Murphy also saw the moment as an opening for a conversation and an avenue to get past stereotypes. The issue, he says, was "uncharted territory."
While there may be a perception that Christian athletes may not be accepting of gay players, Murphy says that it is not the case.
"Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven't been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality," he said. "We love the people. We disagree the lifestyle. That's the way I would describe it for me. It's the same way that there are aspects of my life that I'm trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There's a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn't mean I'm just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That's not love. That's not love at all."
I texted Bean to get his reaction and told him I was writing a story. He said he would think about it and get back to me but I have yet to hear anything (I will update if I do). Update: Bean wrote a column for MLB.com on this today, where he said: "When I took this job at MLB, I knew it was going to take time for many to embrace my message of inclusion. Expecting everyone to be supportive right away is simply not realistic. If you asked anyone who has competed in high-level men's professional sports, I believe they would agree with me. This doesn't change the way I go about my business, or my belief in what I am doing, but it's reality. After reading his comments, I appreciate that Daniel spoke his truth. I really do."
Players like Murphy exist and Bean will have to address them, though I imagine he would rather do it in private. I have no such restraints.
Murphy's comments are an insult, bigoted and hurtful, couched though they are in words like "love." I resent the use of the word "lifestyle" and the love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin attitude of people like Murphy, who still cling to an outdated and prejudicial view of what being gay means. They are offensive to me, regardless of how nice and sincere he appears in saying them.
As for his embracing an openly gay player, good for him. Not that he would have much choice, given that MLB and its union added sexual orientation protections to its last bargaining agreement. I thought Benny Berrafato, an openly gay Mets fan, put it extremely well on Twitter. I'll leave the last word to him: