A gay Cardinals minor leaguer says he quit baseball after hearing homophobic comments from teammates.
In a report on Outsports—an SBNation blog—pitcher Tyler Dunnington said the anti-gay remarks proved to be the breaking point following years of listening to bigoted comments in locker rooms over his career. He retired ahead of 2015 spring training.
The Cardinals drafted Dunnington in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB Draft, assigning him to the franchise’s Gulf Coast League squad and later the Triple-A affiliate of the New York-Pennsylvania League. Dunnington went 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in his year in the minors.
Dunnington, who only recently came out as gay, was still in the closet at the time these incidents occurred. He emailed Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports, to say he regrets not standing up to the homophobia and acting as a role model for other gay athletes.
“I not only wanted to share my story but also apologize for not using the stage I had to help change the game,” Dunnington said.
Dunnington shared an anecdote in the Outsports story about a locker room conversation that turned morbid. A player had mentioned he had a gay brother, leading two teammates to question the player on how he could be affiliated with a gay person, even if they were a relative. Those two teammates also openly discussed ways to kill gay people.
Dunnington did not reveal the names of the players in question.
The article concludes with Dunnington realizing baseball provided more happiness than he previously thought, and resolving to get back into the game.
In an email sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Major League Baseball, Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said Dunnington’s story was disappointing to hear.
“…our hope is that every player, staff member, and employee feels they are treated equally and fairly. Given the nature of these allegations I will certainly look into this further as well as speak with Billy Bean of the Commissioner’s office for further assistance on this matter…we will take this very seriously.”