By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com March 01 2013 10:06 PM ET
Gay athletes should stay in the closet in the name of team solidarity, says former major league baseball pitcher Mark Knudson.
In a column published Thursday on website Mile High Sports, Knudson says gay athletes will inevitably be attracted to some teammates, and realizing they’re the object of attraction will make straight teammates uncomfortable. It will become the source of “internal strife and locker room drama,” says Knudson, who pitched eight years in the majors, for the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, and Colorado Rockies.
“That’s why it remains the best option for any homosexual athlete in a team sport to keep his orientation private,” Knudson writes. “He’s doing what’s best for himself by doing what’s best for the team.”
USA Today sportswriter Ted Berg, however, takes apart Knudson’s logic. “If there are in fact closeted gay guys in the clubhouse who can’t keep their eyes off super-hot teammates like Mark Knudson … then what difference does it make if the gay teammates are out or not? Wouldn’t Knudson, as an attractive person, know either way?” Berg writes. “So it seems like his actual suggestion, then, is not that gay baseball players keep their sexuality to themselves so much as that gay baseball players just not be gay.”
He adds, “To me, it doesn’t seem like it’s in the spirit of so-called ‘teamness’ to ask a teammate to live in fear of rejection and to shoulder the internal damage caused by secrets.”