Cleveland Indians pitcher asks for "forgiveness" for role in gay porn video

BY admin

January 29 2004 1:00 AM ET

Cleveland Indians minor league pitcher Kazuhito Tadano is asking for forgiveness for what he calls a onetime mistake: his appearance in a gay porn video in which he performed an unspecified gay sex act. Tadano took part in the video three years ago when he was a college student. Sitting in the Cleveland clubhouse Tuesday, the pitcher said he hoped to put his actions in the past. "All of us have made mistakes in our lives," Tadano said, reading a statement in English. "Hopefully, you learn from them and move on."

Shunned by Japanese baseball teams, the 23-year-old Tadano signed with the Indians last March. Team officials think he can make their club this spring. At a press session set up by the team, Tadano said he regrets participating in the video. "I was young, playing baseball, and going to college, and my teammates and I needed money," he said. Through an interpreter, Tadano added, "I'm not gay. I'd like to clear that fact up right now."

The admission will certainly draw attention to homosexuality in baseball, a sensitive issue that most players prefer not to discuss. There are no openly gay players in the big leagues today. The same is true in the NFL, NHL, and NBA. In 2002, All-Star catcher Mike Piazza felt the need to hold a press conference to profess his heterosexuality after a gossip columnist suggested that one of the New York Mets' top players was gay.

Tadano was one of Japan's top college pitchers and expected to be a high first-round pick in 2002. But after a Japanese tabloid published photos of him in the video a month before the draft, pro teams in Japan did not select him. Tadano tried out for several major league teams last spring in Arizona. Coming off an elbow injury, he didn't get any offers. His agent, Alan Nero, said some teams were turned off by what he called "the scandal."

Not the Indians, however. General manager Mark Shapiro said the team decided to sign Tadano despite knowing there could be backlash. "This is the right team and the right organization for him," pitcher C.C. Sabathia said. "We have good guys here. Everybody has done something that they regret in their lives." Tadano knows he may face fan abuse in major league parks such as Yankee Stadium, where heckling the visitors is part of the pageantry.

He joked that he's ready for it. "I don't understand English, so it doesn't really matter," he said.

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