Just as Michael Sam became the first active openly gay player in the NFL, David Denson has become the first active openly gay player in pro baseball. Denson, a first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers’ affiliate in Helena, Montana, recently came out to his teammates, according to a story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The decision to come out was prompted by a gay slur uttered by a teammate. In an interview with the Journal-Sentinel, Denson said the reaction from his teammates was overwhelmingly positive:
“Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” recalled Denson. “They said, ‘You’re still our teammate. You’re still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You’re still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don’t treat you any different. We’ve got your back.’
“That was a giant relief for me,” Denson said. “I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality.”
As the Hollywood Reporter notes, “two major-league players, Glenn Burke and Billy Bean, came out as gay after leaving the league.” Sean Conroy of the Sonoma Stompers became the first known actively gay baseball player, but his organization is not affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Denson recently participated in the Pioneer League all-star game, hitting a home run and being named MVP.
(Via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)