US: MLB will address homophobia in baseball during the All-Star Game

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Major League Baseball will recognize Glenn Burke as baseball’s gay pioneer in an effort to dramatically shift their ability to combat homophobia and help gay players, coaches and staff in the league.

Glenn Burke, who died 20 years ago of AIDS, was the first ever MLB player to come out as gay while still playing professional baseball in 1982 making him one of the LGBT trailblazers in sports.

MLB commissioner, Bud Selig will hold a news conference with Burke’s sister, Lutha Burke and formerly gay ex-ballplayer, Billy Bean before the All-Star game at Target Field in Minneapolis this evening.

MLB continues to make strides to combat homophobia amongst players and throughout the league.

While there are currently no openly gay players in the league, the MLB is elevating the level of discourse in order to create a safer and more inclusive environment for players to publicly come out.

In the last three years, all six of the big pro sports leagues in the United States have taken positive steps toward ending homophobia.

Just last year, MLB adopted a new workplace code of conduct that protects players and staff from anti-LGBT harassment.

MLB commissioner, Bud Selig, stated: “We welcome all individuals regardless of sexual orientation into our ballparks, along with those of different races, religions, genders and national origins.”

In 2011, MLB added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy as part of their labor deal with the players union. Players cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin and now sexual orientation as well.

In 2012, Kevin McClatchy, 49, former owner and CEO of an MLB team in Pittsburgh, came out as gay, in a New York Times article saying that homophobic slurs meant that he kept his sexuality a secret in the past.

McClatchy said: “You’re not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue, and there’s no dialogue right now.”

Fortunately, now there is.