When we talk about gay people in sports, most think about an athlete coming Out. The reality is, Out can be more of a career direction even as we view it as a celebration.
Sadly, it is sometimes the end of a career even before that career is started.
Michael Sam came Out before the NFL Draft. Many thought this signaled a cosmic shift. A big, strong defensive lineman from an SEC school having the fortitude to declare, "I'm gay!" As we know, Sam was out of football before he was on a regular-season roster in the NFL.
This week I read the first-person account of another athlete who was "Out" before he was "in" the Majors. Tyler Dunnington was a 28th-round round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2014 MLB Draft. He quit baseball after a year in the minors.
Out before he was in.
Did Tyler's career end because the Cardinals felt he couldn't play? No. Tyler quit because of the clubhouse rhetoric. The homophobia and seeming hatred made him so uncomfortable being in baseball he thought life would be better out of the game.
A year later, those coaches and players that made the stomach-turning comments are probably still in the game. The game is not better because Dunnington is out of it, but it will be now that he is Out.
Major League Baseball has taken tremendous strides, lead in large part by gay former pro baller Billy Bean. Even though no out player has made a big-league club, the atmosphere around the National and American Leagues suggest the time has never been better. It's sad that the same strides have not been made down on the farm.
Tyler Dunnington is Out and out. He should be Out and in.