Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who Will Be the Gay Jackie Robinson?

From "When it comes to gay players, MLB stuck in 1947" by Rob Neyer at SB Nation:

Last week, this happened:
The National Hockey League Players' Association and the National Hockey League today announced a historic partnership with the You Can Play Project that formalizes and advances their long-standing commitment to make the NHL the most inclusive professional sports league in the world.

"The NHL sets the standard for professional sports when it comes to LGBT outreach and we are incredibly grateful for their help and support," said Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke, the founder of the You Can Play Project, an advocacy organization that fights homophobia in sports. "We will work with League and NHLPA officials, teams and players to ensure that we create a more inclusive hockey community at all levels."

A bit earlier, an active (if recently released) NFL player suggested some gay players are considering coming out together, and soon. Supposedly, "the NFL and organizations are already being proactive and open if a player does it and if something negative happens. We'll see what happens."

Now, none of this means that anything's actually imminent. But it does seem that while the NHL and the NFL and some of their players are actively promoting tolerance and acceptance in this area, from Major League Baseball we're hearing ...

This is shameful, and doubly so during a week in which Major League Baseball is promoting Jackie Robinson and (let's be frank) itself as paragons of righteousness and goodwill. Which I might buy if I'd heard anyone in the last few months say anything officially about making MLB welcome to gay players.

The parallels between Jackie Robinson's courage in 1947 and that eventual first active professional gay athlete are hard not to miss. The stage is set, and credit to the NHL for taking an official first step.

But let's not forget MLB already already participated in the "It Gets Better" campaign two years ago: