Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Baseball: Torii Hunter Blasts Reporter For Marriage Equality Question

Baseball: Torii Hunter Blasts Reporter For Marriage Equality Question

Veteran Major League Baseball outfielder Torii Hunter held a press conference Wednesday to announce his one-year, $10.5 million contract to return to the Minnesota Twins, which took an awkward turn with a question from beat writer Mike Berardino of the Pioneer-Press.

Berardino asked Hunter if he plans to continue voicing his antigay beliefs, and if he would be willing to answer future questions on his opinions on the matter. Hunter appeared to dismiss the issue at first, when he responded, “No, I mean nah. There’s nothing to talk about. You already know, so why keep talking about it? I said it. It is what it is. So, no, I’m not going to talk about it if you bring it up. It’s not even baseball-related. We can do that later, when I retire, then I’ll tell you everything.”

But then Hunter felt the need to continue a few moments later, saying, “Hey, Mike is kind of a prick, huh? No, seriously, you're a prick, man. I don't even know you. You're a prick. Seriously. Ain't nothing wrong with that, man, that's your job. He's definitely a prick, though.”

At first, Hunter’s response elicited some laughter from the press, but his redundant name-calling became more awkward as he continued.

Hunter has been outspoken about his feelings toward same-sex marriage and homosexuality in the past. In 2012, the five-time MLB All-Star and self-proclaimed Christian said that homosexuality is “not right” and said that his biblically inspired feelings toward gay people would make it very uncomfortable for him to have a gay teammate.

In his latest display of bigotry, the 39-year-old voiced his support in October for Republican Arkansas gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson for several reasons, including Hutchinson's commitment to “keeping marriage between one man and one woman.” Hunter is an Arkansas native, and Hutchinson went on to win the election.

In response to the incident, Berardino told Twin Cities TV station KARE that he asked Hunter the questons because he wanted to give Hunter "an opportunity to respond to his critics" who took Hunter for task for his views and his endorsement of Hutchinson.

He added, "I also asked him if he thought the political backlash might have impacted his recent job search as he eventually settled for a one-year contract at a 19-percent decrease in his average annual salary. Finally, I asked Mr. Hunter if he intended to be as open with his political and religious views moving forward after having gone through this recent experience. I asked the same questions a few minutes later of Katrina Hunter, his wife, and she offered well-reasoned answers that did not include insults at my expense. I published her complete answers, as well as those of her husband, on my Twins Now blog at TwinCities.com."

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