During the 2018 MLB All-Star game, Josh Hader, a shut down receiver for the Milwaukee Brewers, was pitching in his first ever All-Star game when homophobic tweets of a teenage Hader from years ago resurfaced on the internet. The emergence of these tweets from Hader, and the subsequent finding of similar tweets from Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner and Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Sean Newcomb shine a light on the still present issue of homophobia in the MLB.
The rash of resurfaced tweets are not the only example of homophobic displays from MLB players. Toronto Blue Jays centerfielder Kevin Pillar served a 2 game suspension in May of 2017 after uttering a homophobic slur toward an opposing pitcher. In a 2015 interview the New York Mets’ second baseman at the time, Daniel Murphy, disclosed that he “disagrees [of homosexual people] with the lifestyle, 100%” .
Homophobia continues to be an issue in sports outside of baseball, as sport participation correlates with homophobia according to a study of high school students (Relationship between homophobia and sport participation in high school), these recent examples from the MLB bring up the discussion of what causes the homophobia and how it can be addressed. Is it case of toxic masculinity? Is it an issue that must be solved by the individual leagues? The players? Society in general?
In a league of over 750 players, some percentage of the players must be homosexual. Despite this, there has never been an active MLB player come out as gay. Instances such as these cited in the article are a real barrier to these players coming out as homosexual, and would create the feeling of an unsafe work environment. For the sake of these players and for the game itself, this issue must be fixed.