Despite the likes of Jason Bay and R.A. Dickey (above) telling the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino they’d gladly appear in a PSA aimed at gay youth, the New York Mets are planning an anti-bullying spot with an organization besides It Gets Better, who’ve recently won the support of the San Francisco Giants.
If the Mets proceed with a more general anti-bullying effort, they will avoid raising homosexuality with a group that–despite the willingness of some to appear in a video–sometimes struggles to accept it. Even as the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is set to be abolished, many baseball players say privately that the major league locker room is not ready for the same integration.
Like the military commanders who opposed lifting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” players cite concerns about a lack of comfort in showers, and some point to a religious belief that homosexuality is immoral. An openly gay player would have to overcome those attitudes among his teammates, and listen to the casually homophobic language that flows in the clubhouse.
“It would be a difficult thing for the first player who comes out,” said one veteran major leaguer who said he would support a gay teammate. “I have probably played with gay people, and just don’t know it. It would have to be an established star, and that guy would be like Jackie Robinson.”
Fair play to Martino for pointing out the (sickening) reality of the situation, but surely there’s a world of difference between making a YouTube commercial and actually embracing an openly homosexual teammate? Sure, it’s preferable they do both, but there’s something a bit too easy about reducing a genuine human rights issue to a matter of, well, being civil to nerds. What possible risk could the Mets run by expressing support for bullied LGBT teens?