NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Billy Bean did not take offense to Daniel Murphy’s comments. In fact, he embraced them.
Writing as a guest columnist for the league’s website on Wednesday, Bean, MLB’s ambassador of inclusion, spoke highly of the Mets’ second baseman’s conviction, one day after Murphy, a devout Christian, said he disagreed with Bean’s “lifestyle.”
“After reading his comments, I appreciate that Daniel spoke his truth. I really do,” Bean wrote. “I was visiting his team, and a reporter asked his opinion about me. He was brave to share his feelings, and it made me want to work harder and be a better example that someday might allow him to view things from my perspective, if only for just a moment.”
Bean, a former player, publicly came out as gay in 1999, long after his playing career had ended. On Tuesday he showed up at the Mets’ spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, at the request of team general manager Sandy Alderson, to share his experiences.
Murphy, 29, later spoke to reporters and his comments led to a firestorm of controversy.
“I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual,” Murphy said. “That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him.
“That, I would say, you can still accept them. But I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent. Maybe, as a Christian … we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. We love the people. We disagree (with) the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me.
“It’s the same way that there are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There’s a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer, trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That’s not love. That’s not love at all.”
Though there have been many in the media who have criticized Murphy’s stance, Bean, 50, refused to dismiss him, saying he has good reason to look at the Mets’ second baseman as a man of principle.
“I have tremendous admiration and respect for Daniel Murphy as a family man,” Bean wrote. “Just last year, he made the decision to miss Opening Day for the birth of his son, and was criticized by some members of the New York media for this choice. Murphy deserved to be commended for putting his family first and that decision — which led to an invitation to speak at the White House — showed he’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes in.”
Bean said despite the apparent chasm between the two there is the foundation for discussion.
“I respect him, and I want everyone to know that he was respectful of me. We have baseball in common, and for now, that might be the only thing. But it’s a start,” Bean wrote.
“The silver lining in his comments are that he would be open to investing in a relationship with a teammate, even if he ‘disagrees’ with the lifestyle. It may not be perfect, but I do see him making an effort to reconcile his religious beliefs with his interpretation of the word lifestyle. It took me 32 years to fully accept my sexual orientation, so it would be hypocritical of me to not be patient with others.
“Inclusion means everyone, plain and simple. Daniel is part of that group. A Major League clubhouse is now one of the most diverse places in sports. It wasn’t always that way, but we can thank No. 42 for that. So in his honor, with a little patience, compassion and hard work, we’ll get there.”