Daniel Murphy’s impact on the Chicago Cubs was immediate Thursday night. On the field, the Cubs’ new lead-off hitter went 2-for-5 and scored once in a 7-1 routing of the Cincinnati Reds. The National League’s best record got even better as the Cubs got a bit win at Wrigley.
Off the field, Murphy did nothing to quell the concerns of LGBTQ Cubs fans that an avowed homophobe was now a part of their favorite team. When he was asked after the game if he had any comment for gay fans who were concerned with the Cubs’ acquisition of him, he was trite at best.
“Oh dear,” he said, as he looked off dismissively into space. In other words: These gay people are just so damn overly sensitive when Christians like me say they bad things about them.
He went on with a I-couldn’t-care-less-what-those-gays-think answer about how gay fans should continue to cheer for the Cubs.
During the presser he also waxed poetic about openly gay MLB executive Billy Bean, with whom Murphy has become friendly. For Bean’s part, he has tried to connect with Murphy to build understandings. On Thursday Murphy’s felt a lot like the all-too-common I’m-not-racist-I-have-a-black-friend line of thinking.
I’m a big fan of giving people second chances, and letting them correct past issues even if their underlying belief system doesn’t change. People say things they sometimes wish they hadn’t, and after education and reflection people can change their public tune. I’ve given people space to change their tune over and over again, praising guys like Garrison Hearst, Tim Hardaway and even David Tyree.
Murphy has, even with this press conference, demonstrated no interest in building bridges between himself and the community he has publicly degraded. He has his gay friend and he’s good to go. Let the rest of them eat cake.
The Cubs host their annual Out At Wrigley event this Sunday, celebrating the LGBTQ community. Murphy was with the Nationals when they had past Pride Nights. Yet his presence at Wrigley this Sunday will feel different, a real slap in the face of a community that has given such praise to the Cubs.
Murphy certainly hasn’t made it any easier for any of them to cheer for their favorite team with his comments this week.