A player for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Minor League team has he quit baseball after enduring anti-gay sentiment for years, including hearing his teammates talk about killing gay people.
Tyler Dunnington told Outsports:
“I was one of the not-so-many players to be given a chance to pursue my dream of being a Major League Baseball player.
I was also one of the unfortunate closeted gay athletes who experienced years of homophobia in the sport I loved. I was able to take most of it with a grain of salt but towards the end of my career I could tell it was affecting my relationships with people, my performance, and my overall happiness.
I experienced both coaches and players make remarks on killing gay people during my time in baseball, and each comment felt like a knife to my heart. I was miserable in a sport that used to give me life, and ultimately I decided I needed to hang up my cleats for my own sanity.
A year after resigning Dunnington says he has regrets, acknowledging “I didn’t have to quit baseball to find happiness.”
In his statement, he regrets not speaking up while in the game—”Quitting isn’t the way to handle adversity”—and shared his admiration for those who did take a stand.
Just last week MLB management declared it was ready to welcome its first openly gay player.
“I’m looking forward to that day when we can point to one or many players, and say, ’There’s an example of our inclusion, openness and acceptance,'” said Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall. “I think in this day and age, it’s accepted.”
The Cardinals are now looking into Dunnington’s allegations, and promise to take the matter “very seriously.
“This is very disappointing and our hope is that every player, staff member and employee feels they are treated equally and fairly,” said general manager John Mozeliak.
You can watch Cyd Ziegler interview Dunnington below to learn more about his story.