Daniel Murphy's bat speaks
The New York Mets in March silenced Daniel Murphy. Last night the infielder saved his team’s season by hitting the go-ahead home run and stealing a key base as the Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series. New York now advances to the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.
The silencing of Murphy came after a little-known 50-year-old ex-player, Billy Bean (not famed Moneyball general manager Billy Beane) came to the Mets’ spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Bean, after his baseball career was over, said he was gay, and the Major League Baseball (MLB) hierarchy in 2014 made him its first “ambassador of inclusion.”
Bean’s task is to visit spring training camps and talk with players about homosexuality. He visited the Mets’ camp on March 3, and that day Murphy forthrightly answered a reporter’s question by saying, “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 … but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.” Murphy also expressed some self-criticism: “There are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ … like my pride.”
Murphy wasn’t looking for trouble: MLB was paying Bean to provoke discussion, and a reporter asked Murphy to respond. Nevertheless, some gays vociferously attacked Murphy not only for his opposition to homosexuality but also for calling it a “lifestyle.” A Mets spokesman quickly told ESPN that Murphy “will no longer address his religious beliefs and will stick to baseball.”
Murphy has apparently obeyed that edict. I wanted to ask Mets and MLB officials about it, but in March, even when I sat in the Mets’ administrative office in Port St. Lucie and visited MLB headquarters in New York City, no one was willing to talk. During the past 22 years, some ballplayers have talked with me about their religious and political views, but I’ve seen a chilling effect here. Have you? This year, have any major league players publicly criticized same-sex marriage? If so, please send me press accounts.
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