New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy made some controversial comments about homosexuals in regard to the team bringing in Billy Bean, who is serving as Major League Baseball's inclusion ambassador and is one of two former big leaguers who have come out as gay.
Speaking to reporters, via Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com, Murphy said he would have no problem getting to know Bean even though he doesn't agree with the lifestyle:
I disagree with his lifestyle. 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.
Murphy, who the article notes is a devout Christian, said his religious beliefs are such that "we love the people. We disagree (with) the lifestyle."
After reading his comments, I appreciate that Daniel spoke his truth. I really do. I was visiting his team, and a reporter asked his opinion about me. He was brave to share his feelings, and it made me want to work harder and be a better example that someday might allow him to view things from my perspective, if only for just a moment.
I respect him, and I want everyone to know that he was respectful of me. We have baseball in common, and for now, that might be the only thing. But it's a start.
The silver lining in his comments are that he would be open to investing in a relationship with a teammate, even if he "disagrees" with the lifestyle. It may not be perfect, but I do see him making an effort to reconcile his religious beliefs with his interpretation of the word lifestyle. It took me 32 years to fully accept my sexual orientation, so it would be hypocritical of me to not be patient with others.
Bean spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues from 1987-1995, appearing in 272 games with Detroit, Los Angeles and San Diego. His role with MLB is to cultivate an environment that would respectfully accept an openly gay person if they decide to come out with their sexuality.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer is quoted in the same article as saying that he thinks baseball "would be willing to accept" anyone if they are good at their job. He thinks what happens away from the field "doesn't matter."
Murphy's comments are going to bring back the debate about how willing and able sports teams, or at least a baseball team, are to accept a gay athlete. It's a topic that's led to a lot of passionate debates and arguments for a long time, and one that doesn't appear to be ending.