David Denson makes history as first openly gay active player in baseball – CNN International
(CNN)David Denson, a first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers’ rookie affiliate in Helena, Montana, made baseball history this weekend by revealing that he is gay.
Denson publicly disclosed the news in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article after sharing it with his family and Helena Brewers teammates.
“Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” Denson told sports writer Tom Haudricourt.
“They said, ‘You’re still our teammate. You’re still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You’re still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don’t treat you any different. We’ve got your back.'”
A handful of retired pro athletes have come out in recent years, including MLB Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean, who counseled Denson in his decision to reveal that he is gay. The news makes Denson the first active player affiliated with a Major League organization to come out publicly.
“Any player who happens to be gay and is a professional and has kept that secret, they just want to be judged for their baseball or football or basketball ability. David would not be playing professional baseball if he wasn’t an excellent baseball player,” Bean told the Journal Sentinel.
“The beauty of what could come from this is he can be an example that can help change that perception and change the stereotype that there would never be a gay person on a men’s professional sports team. That was something I struggled with.”
Many in the sports world voiced support for Denson, including the Brewers’ leadership.
“David is a highly respected member of the Milwaukee Brewers family, and he is a very courageous young man,” Milwaukee Brewers President Doug Melvin said in a statement. “Our goal for David is to help develop him into a Major League player, just as it is for any player in our system, and we will continue to support him in every way as he chases that dream.”
“May David Denson be judged solely on his baseball ability. Wish him both support and success,” WTMJ Milwaukee sports anchor Doug Russell said.
Denson’s Helena teammates also offered support.
“Proud of my teammate David Denson. Extremely brave guy. Much respect for him!” Helena Brewers outfielder Troy Stokes said.
“Sexuality does not dictate ones ability to play the game of baseball or be a good teammate. Nothing but support for our brother David Denson,” catcher Mitch Ghelfi said.
“Proud of my teammate and brother David Denson for coming out and being himself, ton of respect for him as a player and person,” catcher Charles Galiano said.
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