Over the weekend, David Denson became the first player affiliated with a Major League Baseball team to come out as gay during his playing career. His minor league Helena team is affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” Denson told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “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.’”
Denson came out with the help of Billy Bean, M.L.B.’s first ambassador for inclusion. Bean disclosed he was gay in 1999 after his playing career with the Tigers, Dodgers, and Padres.
Denson is hitting a combined .229, with five home runs and 26 runs batted in this season. He was picked by Milwaukee in the 15th round of the 2013 draft from West Covina, Calif.
Denson follows former NBA player Jason Collins, who announced that he was gay after the 2013 season when he was a free agent. Collins played in 22 games with the Brooklyn Nets in 2014 before retiring, and therefore was the first active player in one of the major team sports to reveal he is gay.
Football player Michael Sam revealed he was gay after his college career at Missouri and was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 but didn’t make the roster and recently cited mental health issues for leaving the Montreal team of the Canadian Football League.