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Former MLB pitcher: Staying in the closet is the ‘best option’ for gay athletes

Friday, March 1, 2013
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DENVER — Former Major League pitcher Mark Knudson says that the best thing that gay professional athletes could do for their teams is to stay in the closet.

Writing for Mile High Sports, Knudson — who played for eight seasons in Major League Baseball from 1985 to 1993 — says that it is “absurd” to think that “there wouldn’t be any sort of physical attraction for a gay athlete toward any of his straight teammates,” and that would result in “very uncomfortable situations.”

Mark Knudson


“In a normal work environment, people are individuals with jobs. In pro sports, it’s all about as George Karl puts it, ‘teamness.’ Individualism and personal agendas might be okay in a normal workplace, but it’s not okay in team sports. Teamness is what fans demand from the teams they pay to watch. Any individual with an agenda that’s even slightly different from that of the team hurts that cause.

“Just as absurd as comparing workplace environments is the ridiculous claim by some in the gay community that there wouldn’t be any sort of physical attraction for a gay athlete toward any of his straight teammates – which would cause those very uncomfortable situations. He’s gay; he’s not dead. He can’t just flip a switch and turn off his feelings when he walks into the locker room.

“Of course he’s going to have feelings of attraction toward a teammate or two. It’s human nature. These are some of the most physically fit and desirable human beings on the planet. The gay athlete isn’t going to notice that? … Attractive people know when they’re being “checked out” and it leads to those very awkward moments. It’s human nature for people to be attracted to other people and it’s not going to stop happening because the workplace environment is a locker room rather than a typical office setting.”

Knudson concludes that “it remains the best option for any homosexual athlete in a team sport to keep his orientation private. He’s doing what’s best for himself by doing what’s best for the team.”

Besides, he says, “there will be plenty of time for pronouncements and getting that nice book deal after the playing days are over.”

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