David Denson is being praised for his bravery after the Pioneer League player came out as gay, becoming the first openly gay active player in a league affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Now Denson’s parent club, the Milwaukee Brewers, are standing behind his decision and say they will welcome him with open arms should he ever play his way up to the big leagues.
Denson came out as gay in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, saying that he felt comfortable in being open about his orientation thanks to the support of his teammates.
“Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” Denson told the newspaper. “They said, ‘You’re still our teammate. You’re still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You’re still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don’t treat you any different. We’ve got your back.’
“That was a giant relief for me. I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality.”
The Brewers have been supportive of his decision, from manager Craig Counsell down to the players.
“I think everybody is supportive,” said rightfielder Ryan Braun, via ESPN. “Overall, we realize it’s a courageous decision by him, to come out and embrace his true self.
“I’ve never met him, but I hope baseball as a whole is at a point where we judge people by their ability and not their race, religion, ethnicity, or sexuality. I can’t speak for everybody on our team, but he would be accepted and supported by me. And I would hope all of my teammates feel the same way.”
The team itself released a statement, saying that Denson is a “highly respected member” of the organization.
“Our goal for David is to help develop him into a major league player, just as it is for any player in our system, and we will continue to support him in every way as he chases that dream,” general manager Doug Melvin added.
David Denson still has a ways to go before he could become the first openly gay MLB player on an active roster. The 20-year-old is hitting .247 in the rookie Pioneer League, being named a mid-season All-Star.
[Image via KRTV]