Amid the warm weather, sunny skies and attractions that spring training brings, we have perhaps our first non-Alex Rodriguez controversial story of the spring. The New York Mets garnered positive attention by inviting openly-gay Major League Baseball inclusion ambassador Billy Bean to spend the day with the team in camp and discuss acceptances with the players.
Bean even tweeted out his pleasure with the organization for allowing him to spread the message.
— Billy Bean (@billybeanball) March 4, 2015
But Daniel Murphy’s left-handed praise for the team angered many fans and gay people. The Mets productive second baseman spoke with Mike Vorkunov of NewJersey.com and talked about his opposing view of Bean and the homosexual “lifestyle” in general.
“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.
“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.”
Plain and simple, those comments by Murphy, 29, were both unnecessary and misinformed. Although he is trying to maintain a positive outlook on the situation, he unintentionally or intentionally, depending on your stance insulted homosexuals.
Murphy must have forgotten the fact that he plays in the same state that welcomed the first active openly-gay athlete in one of the big three American sports. After coming out as a homosexual man, big man Jason Collins signed with the Brooklyn Nets last season.
It was a huge step for gay athlete to ease their way into being comfortable to admit their sexual orientation. After Collins, NFL player Michael Sam and WWE superstar Darren Young were among the athletes and entertainers to reveal their orientation. In particular, the term ‘lifestyle’ is what people are referencing in their criticism of Murphy.
When he says that way, the connotation implies that gay people live differently compared to other people. Which is the point that Jim Buzinski of SBNation touched upon in his analysis of the situation. Also, one Met fan took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with Murphy and his comments.
This entire circumstance is bringing negative press to both Murphy and the Mets. The team is in a mode where they are trying to be a competitive team and figured to have Murphy be one of the main cogs in their machine. But after these comments, Murphy may be in the playing in his last season in New York.
There have been rumors for the past couple of seasons with the Mets not wanting to retain Murphy by signing him to a long-term extension. Now, the team might not want a person who openly speaks out against the gay community.
He can say that he would accept a gay player into the clubhouse all he wants but Murphy wouldn’t have much a choice regardless. In the aforementioned article by Jim Buzkinski, he mentioned that MLB added a sexual orientation protection to its latest bargaining agreement. Therefore, he could disagree with the lifestyle all he wants but he’d have to learn how to be around people who live that lifestyle.
All told, a professional athlete in New York needs to understand that any and all comments will be looked at under a microscope. Thus, when discussing a touchy subject such as homosexuality, Murphy should have been more careful with his word selection. Now, this could ultimately cost him his reputation of a low-key player with limited defensive ability and transform it into a homophobic player with limited defensive ability.
[Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]