Major League Baseball’s Inclusion Ambassador Billy Bean traveled to the spring training facilities of the New York Mets, and statements by one of the team’s stars on Bean’s homosexuality raised questions of whether MLB’s “inclusion” program pertains to Christians, too.
Infielder Daniel Murphy, who called the idea of Bean coming to training camp “forward thinking,” pointed out that he could disagree with Bean’s lifestyle but still welcome him as a fellow baseball player, saying:
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.
Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. 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.
Deadspin‘s Kevin Draper ridiculed Murphy’s beliefs and noted after the Inclusion Ambassador’s visit that “expressing homophobic beliefs is increasingly not tolerated. That’s great to see.”
Bean announced his homosexuality after his six-year playing career ended in 1989. Last November, Bean spoke to all MLB general managers. Sandy Alderson of the Mets approached him and asked him to come to the Mets’ training camp and play with the team, but Bean declined. He visited the Tigers, then spent the day with the Mets in uniform. He said, “We’re trying to reach out to people and we are there if they reach back.”
There seemed to be a perception that Bean may have left the sport because of his sexuality; Michael Cuddyer said, “In my opinion nobody should be run out of a game or doing something that they’re good at based on something that doesn’t matter out on the field. In that respect, I think baseball has a whole would be willing to accept that.”
During Bean’s six-year career, he batted .226 with a total of 5 home runs and 53 RBIs.