After the big launch and excitement regarding PrideHouse TO (Bowles, 2014) and the the coming PanAm Games to Toronto, sometimes we wonder if all the fuss is really necessary. So much has happened with regard to acceptance of LGBTQ people, so fast. But then something like this happens to remind us.
Torii Hunter, born in my adopted home-state of Arkansas, recently agreed to a one-year deal to play baseball with the Minnesota Twins, in a deal worth over 10 million dollars (more than I’ll earn in my lifetime). He’s well known for being anti-gay; he would be “uncomfortable” with such a team-mate (Detroit Free Press, 2014). What that means…? Well, I don’t know. But he’d apparently be unable to perform his ten million dollar duties if one of his team-mates came out.
Being gay in sport is one of the last bastions of Western culture where anti-gay sentiments are not only tolerated, but even encouraged. I’m glad to see that in this case, Mr. Hunter has been roundly criticized.
Much thought Hunter might argue that his “Gay marriage views [were] not a factor in [his] free-agent search” (TwinCities.com, 2014), his acceptance of his teammates would be. One of his quotes: “It’s something I don’t like to talk about, but… separated, divided, we fall. Simple as that.” What he doesn’t seem to realize is that by rejecting others for who they are, for who they love, he is hastening that separation and that division, and he is contributing to what I can only hope is his own fall.”