When Daniel Murphy takes the field, teams know that they are going to see a guy that can hit.300, drive in some runs, and provide defensive flexibility in the infield. Off the field, whoever he plays for knows that they are going to have to deal with questions from the press regarding his anti-LGBT beliefs. It happened in New York with the Mets, It happened in Washington, and he did it again in his first major press conference since joining the Cubs. Although Murphy has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t want to talk about his religion or beliefs, as reported by Yahoo, he still does it anyway.
Although rumors of Murphy’s anti-LGBT views had been swirling around since shortly after he joined the Mets in 2008, it wasn’t until 2015 when Murphy went on the record voicing his “disagreement” with MLB staffer Billy Bean’s “lifestyle” that those rumors were confirmed. Bean, the second former major league player to come out as gay, is the MLB Ambassador for Inclusion according to The Guardian. Not satisfied to just disagree with what he considers a lifestyle choice for Bean, Murphy took time to further explain and defend his position.
“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. We (as Christians) love the people, but we disagree with the lifestyle…That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”
Now a member of the Cubs, in his first major press conference with the team, the inevitable question arose concerning his stance on LGBT persons, in part, because this Saturday is Out At Wrigley, a day to recognize and celebrate LGBT persons. While Murphy said the correct buzzwords such as “inclusion,” and “outreach,” those in attendance reported it felt like a work-shopped statement from a P.R. team. When asked specifically about gay Cubs fans, and if he had a message for them, many reported he seemed caught off-guard by it.
Murphy’s eyes got wide and he began his statement by saying “oh dear,” reports OutSports. It didn’t get much better from there as he worked his way through saying that he hoped they would root for the Cubs. Cyd Zeigler described the vibe he got from Murphy’s comments.
“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.”
And semi-related, if the Cubs end up picking up Daniel Murphy off waivers, I’m just not going to watch another game the rest of the season because screw that guy.— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) August 21, 2018
On social media, a number of Cubs fans, LGBT people, and allies have voiced their doubt that Murphy has evolved on the issue. His fallback answer to any question regarding LGBT persons in baseball is always something about how he thinks Billy Bean is a good person and he says hi to him each team they run into each other at MLB events per The Guardian. While Murphy has his supporters or at least a number of people that say they don’t care what he believes so long as he helps the Cubs win, they are a slight minority of the conversation.
The prevailing reporting on Murphy’s press conference is that he still doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get that what he says is offensive, and he doesn’t seem to care according to 670 The Score. If the buzz on Twitter is any indication of what may happen at Out At Wrigley tomorrow, there will be plenty of rainbows in the stands, and plenty of people hoping Murphy will be supportive of all Cubs fans, not just the ones whose “lifestyle” he agrees with.