Laura Ricketts, the lesbian co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, says she supports her team's acquisition of Daniel Murphy despite his history of antigay comments -- but some LGBTQ fans aren't so welcoming.
Ricketts, who serves on the board of the Cubs and is part of the family that owns the team, said via Twitter that she had gotten "on board" with the acquisition of Murphy after several "thoughtful conversations" with her relatives, other Cubs executives, and Billy Bean, Major League Baseball's ambassador for inclusion. Murphy had made a homophobic remark about Bean in 2015.
Bean is a former major leaguer who came out as gay after retiring. He was named ambassador for inclusion in 2014 and spent a day with the New York Mets, then Murphy's team, during spring training the following year.
When a reporter asked Murphy about Bean, he said, "I disagree with his lifestyle. I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn't mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him. I don't think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent."
Murphy, a devout Christian, addressed the comments last week in a Chicago press conference after joining the Cubs, who acquired the hard-hitting infielder in a trade with the Washington Nationals. "What I would say to that is that I've been able to foster a really positive relationship with Billy Bean since that time," Murphy said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "I'm really excited to continue to cultivate that relationship that we've built." As ambassador for inclusion, Bean has "a vital role," he added.
In her tweets, Ricketts noted that Murphy and Bean had developed a friendship, and Bean was "very positive and encouraging" about Murphy joining the Cubs.
Certain LGBTQ Cubs fans, however, are not so positive about Murphy. He received some boos every time he batted in Sunday's Out at Wrigley LGBTQ event, organizer Bill Gubrud told Outsports. The Cubs' ballpark, Wrigley Field, is located in Chicago's heavily gay Boystown neighborhood.
But Laura Ricketts and her brother Tom sat in the designated Out at Wrigley section during the game and took questions from fans about the Murphy acquisition, something Outsports called "a noble gesture to the community."