A gay dad who happens to be a New York Mets fan wrote an open letter to second baseman Daniel Murphy, explaining why Murphy’s comments about accepting a gay teammate but not his “lifestyle” were hurtful.
Jon Raj, writing eloquently on HuffingtonPost.com, said his young son is a budding Mets fan and that he hopes to speak personally with Murphy at spring training about the national conversation Murphy’s comments sparked. Raj writes:
To me, you are a great baseball player who has demonstrated commitment and determination when faced with adversity. I have followed you in your quest to become an All-Star second baseman and truly admire what you have accomplished.
To my son, you are more — you are a role model. I understand that may not have been something you signed up for, but for better or worse, for him and others like him, you are larger than life.
Let me try to explain why what you said was not an innocuous sound byte, but rather an offensive statement. First, I do not have a lifestyle. I didn’t choose my sexuality the same way you didn’t choose yours. Second, being gay is not what defines me, but rather it is just one important part of who I am. So when you say that you disagree with who I am, you are also disagreeing with my son and my family. We are not a lifestyle choice — we are a family.
Murphy on Tuesday spoke of how his beliefs jibe with a modern locker room and increasing acceptance of gay athletes after Billy Bean, who came out after his major league career ended, addressed the team at the invitation of General Manager Sandy Alderson. “We’re trying to reach out to people and we are there if they reach back,” Bean, baseball’s inclusion ambassador, said (via NJ.com).
Murphy, who is a devout Christian, explained, saying of Bean: “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.”
Murphy disputed the perception that Christian athletes might not accept gay teammates and players.
“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.”
Bean wrote Wednesday on MLB.com that he understands not everyone will accept his message of inclusion, adding that he has “tremendous admiration and respect for Daniel Murphy as a family man.” Murphy made headlines last year for deciding to skip Opening Day to be present for the birth of his son.
“If you asked anyone who has competed in high-level men’s professional sports, I believe they would agree with me,” he wrote. “This doesn’t change the way I go about my business, or my belief in what I am doing, but it’s reality.”
From now on, Murphy plans to stick to speaking about the topic of baseball and not his religious beliefs on the subject of homosexuality, a team spokesman said Wednesday and that’s too bad. The conversation is worth continuing in a sport that has no openly gay active players in the majors.