Minor League baseball player Tyler Dunnington left the sport he planned on dedicating his life to after hearing comments from his teammates that gay people should be murdered.
“I was also one of the unfortunate closeted gay athletes who experienced years of homophobia in the sport I loved,” Dunnington, who identifies as gay, said in a letter to Outsports. “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.”
He continued to say that throughout his time in baseball he repeatedly heard fellow players and coaches make remarks about killing gay people. One coach even outright said, “We kill gay people in Wyoming.” These aggressions all but forced Dunnington to leave the sport for his own sanity.
It’s been a year since Dunnington’s decision to quit his career, and looking back he regrets his exit.
“After a little over a year of being gone from the game I’ve come to realize I thought I was choosing happiness over being miserable; that is not necessarily the case,” Dunnington said. “Quitting isn’t the way to handle adversity, and I admire the other athletes acting as trailblazers.”
The former Minor League player has now came out to his friends and family. And said in this video that he has not had any negative reactions thus far to being open with his sexuality.
Following Dunnington going public with his tragic encounter with homophobia in minor league the team he pitched for, the St.Louis Cardinals, are taking the allegations “very seriously”.
“This is very disappointing and our hope is that every player, staff member, and employee feels they are treated equally and fairly,” general manager John Mozeliak wrote in an email to St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “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.”
“We care about all our guys,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said to the Post Dispatch. “And we will try to figure out ways so they can have an atmosphere where they can be as good as they can be.”
Dunnington now plans to return to the sport he loves as himself at a team front office. After letting those terribly disparaging comments get under his skin last year, he is shaking them off and ready to be open and happy with his career again.