MLB not living up to its anti-hazing, anti-bullying policy

I am writing in regards to the Major League Baseball anti-hazing and anti-bullying policy. Specifically, how the policy relates to and effects players in the LGBT community. MLB has stated that they are a diverse organization, and are inclusive of everyone; currently, this is not the case.

There are currently no openly gay, bisexual, or transgender men playing professional baseball. Billie Jean King, tennis legend, champion of LGBTQ rights, and part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in an interview with Outsports that one of the reasons why there are no out, gay MLB players is that, “ … nobody feels safe to come out. It’s still an old boys club.”

This can be seen by the use of homophobic slurs used by players. George Springer of the Houston Astros used a slur against an umpire earlier this year, and in 2017, Matt Joyce of the Oakland Athletics and Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays were suspended for using homophobic slurs.

Furthermore, in 2015, three-time National League all-star Daniel Murphy stated that he believed being gay was a “lifestyle,” and one that he disagreed with. Even though there are policies in place that prohibit demeaning conduct and comments about a player’s sexual orientation or gender identity, it is hard to imagine LGBT players feeling comfortable to come out when their teammates use slurs and think being gay is a “lifestyle.”

There is not a quick or easy solution to this problem. But continuing to educate players and using punishment that is swift when homophobic situations arise can help to eliminate the anti-gay culture that baseball is steeped in. Inclusion of everyone, regardless of background, is one of the values that MLB lists in their mission statement –– it is past time they start acting like it.

Hannah Martian


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