David Denson, the first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers’ rookie Pioneer League, announced Sunday that he is gay.
‘My teammates gave me the confidence I needed’
The news came in a public announcement in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, which the sportsman shared with his family and Helena Brewers teammates. Denson is now the first active player in Major League history to come out publicly.
“Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” Denson said.
“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.'”
— MLB (@MLB) August 16, 2015
Right fielder Ryan Braun said, “I think everybody is supportive. Overall, we realize it’s a courageous decision by him, to come out and embrace his true self.”
Denson is regarded as a “highly respected player” by the Brewers.
“Our goal for David is to help develop him into a major league player, just as it is for any player in our system,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “And we will continue to support him in every way as he chases that dream.”
Brewers statement on Minor League player David Denson: pic.twitter.com/lot6Zq4s2L
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 16, 2015
As reported by ESPN, Major League Baseball (MLB) said that it supported Denson “to share his personal story and wishes him continued success with his goal of becoming a major leaguer.”
Scooter Gennett, the Brewers second baseman who played with Denson on a minor league rehab with Wisconsin earlier this season, said that Denson is “a great guy, an awesome guy.”
“Now he’ll be able to focus on playing and not focus on all the other stuff. This will be less clutter for him,” Gennett said. “I think it’s a great thing when people can clear their mind and just be honest with people around them.”
Denson is the Brewers’ 27th ranked prospect. According to MLB.com, he is batting .245 with four home runs and 18 RBIs in 42 games for Helena. He was picked by the Brewers in the 15th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.
‘May Denson be judged solely on his baseball ability’
A few retired athletes have come out in the recent past, including MLB’s first Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean.
“Any player who happens to be gay and is a professional and has kept that secret, they just want to be judged for their baseball or football or basketball ability. David would not be playing professional baseball if he wasn’t an excellent baseball player,” Bean said.
“The beauty of what could come from this is he can be an example that can help change that perception and change the stereotype that there would never be a gay person on a men’s professional sports team. That was something I struggled with.”
Several players offered their support in light of Denson’s announcement.
WTMJ Milwaukee sports anchor Doug Russell said, “May David Denson be judged solely on his baseball ability. Wish him both support and success.”
Mitch Ghelfi said, “Sexuality does not dictate ones ability to play the game of baseball or be a good teammate. Nothing but support for our brother David Denson.”
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