Baseball, Homophobia and Us

As it sometimes happens, today I am moving away from political news to turn to my latest passion, baseball, but also to a social issue, homophobia.

Last Friday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers honored the memory of one of their former players, Glenn Burke. His name is not familiar to you? It must be said that his time with the Dodgers and in Major League Baseball (1976-1979) was short-lived. Didn’t know we owed him fame your palm? There is more, and above all, more important.

broken career

Why honor the memory of an athlete who played only four seasons at the highest level, including two with the Oakland A? to try to compensate. Glenn Burke was more than average talented, sure of his talent and extroverted, he was gay. He is the first player in Major League history to explicitly assume his orientation with his teammates and management.

So far, only two players have appeared publicly as gay. The second is current Major League Baseball ambassador Billy Bean.

Despite apparent sport and the support of his teammates, Glenn Burke was fired from Los Angeles after rejecting a $75,000 offer from the general manager to marry a woman.

Burke also had time to hook up with manager’s gay son Tommy Lasorda. The latter, who had always denied his son’s sexual orientation, wanted us to abandon Burke’s services.

Traded with a less talented player, Glenn Burke’s luck had a little better in Auckland. It’s hard to deny manager Billy Martin’s homophobia, which he introduces to the rest of the team: “Here’s Glenn Burke, he’s gay.”

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Martin won’t spend long using the excuse of an injury to send his player back to the school club, where he will be left hanging before his contract is terminated.

Raising awareness again and again

I am taking up the topic today because the problem of homophobia is still very present. Despite the great initiatives, professional sports teams still feel like a hostile environment.

If you think things have changed in society since the late ’70s, you’re not entirely wrong, but A recent study by the Pew Research Center It reminds us that in a few American states, it is believed that homosexuality should not be accepted.

For our part, a study conducted in 2020 highlighted the fate assigned to athletes who mentioned their sexual orientation to their teammates or teammates. The problem is that many young people prefer not to exercise.

While we sometimes like to think of ourselves as being more progressive, respectful, and inclusive than our neighbours, this doesn’t always seem to be the case.

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