Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Take Reported Allegations from Gay Player 'Very Seriously'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Take Reported Allegations from Gay Player 'Very Seriously'

Article excerpt

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. * The allegations that a hostile clubhouse environment created by homophobic conversations with his Cardinals teammates drove a gay minor-league pitcher to abandon baseball are being taken "very seriously" by the club and Major League Baseball, officials said.

Tyler Dunnington told that during his career, in college and with the Cardinals, he "experienced both coaches and players (making) remarks on killing gay people during my time in baseball, and each comment felt like a knife to my heart." As a result he did not feel comfortable revealing to the Cardinals that he is gay, and he retired from the team before spring training a year ago.

"For my own sanity," he told the website.

"This is very disappointing and our hope is that every player, staff member, and employee feels they are treated equally and fairly," general manager John Mozeliak wrote in an email to the Post- Dispatch. "Given the nature of these allegations I will certainly look into this further. We will take this very seriously."

The Cardinals selected Dunnington, 24, from Colorado Mesa University in the 28th round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of that summer with the Cardinals' rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, a team that is based in Jupiter, Fla. He described to how he heard derogatory comments from coaches in college and later teammates in the pros.

Billy Bean, baseball's Ambassador for Inclusion, has sought out Dunnington to discuss and understand his experience, though Bean said there was "no precedent" for an investigation of this nature by the commissioner's office. Mozeliak said he will work with Bean on how the organization should address Dunnington's descriptions. Bean said he met with Dunnington as recently as last week at the MLB Diversity Business Summit in Phoenix, but was not made aware of his reason for retiring or the encounters he described in the article.

"This is something that reminds me I have a lot of work to do, and it's a challenge," Bean told the Post-Dispatch. "I can confidently say that this is not the prevailing feeling in our game, and that whether you work for the Cardinals or you play for the Cardinals or you're a part of any team we all feel it's important that we make it clear that there is a place for you, and that we are all accepting. We haven't completed our goal. It's just starting."

Dunnington did not respond to interview requests.

In 2013, Major League Baseball established a policy prohibiting players from harassing or discriminating against other players based on sexual orientation. Bean, a former big leaguer who publicly revealed in 1999 that he is gay, joined the commissioner's office a year later. Several teams invited him for visits last spring, and he took the field with the New York Mets in uniform. Bean visited the Cardinals during spring training last year, spending most of his time talking with Mozeliak about education and direction clubs could adopt. …

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