Former major league player Billy Bean, not to be confused with the Athletics GM, visited Mets camp as a guest of GM Sandy Alderson. Bean, who was the first MLB player to publicly come out as gay, is one of the games leading activists. He now serves as an MLB ambassador for inclusion in the game today. Alderson hoped his story and presence in camp would help stress the importance of bonding with teammates, no matter what your background or personal beliefs may be, this spring.
The thought was there and I tip my cap to Alderson for the effort. But, things took a turn for the worse when a microphone was placed in front of Daniel Murphy.
Murphy has become well-known, especially by team beat writers, for his christian beliefs. His faith is a big part of his life and he has never shied away from saying so in any interview. Thus making him the target of the media yesterday with Bean in town.
Here is some of what Murphy had to say regarding Bean (NJ.com):
“I disagree with his lifestyle,” Murphy said. “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. 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, that we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality,” he said. “We love the people. We disagree 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.”
Murphy was set up for failure yesterday. I understand it’s the media’s job to seek after these sort of quotes and headlines to sell papers. When you take some of Murphy’s words out of context, in so 140 characters, you don’t ge the full gist of what he was actually saying. But what bothered me was that they chose to go after Murphy because of his well documented christian beliefs. They knew Murphy would not shy away from speaking on behalf of his faith. Murphy did what he has always done, and what the media hoped he would do, as he stood there and answered the questions openly and honestly.
We live in a politically correct world today. Especially on a topic as sensitive as homosexuality in America. These days if you don’t agree with someone, you’re the problem. No longer are we allowed to disagree or possess different beliefs. I mean what do you think this is – the land of the free?
For the record, I have absolutely no problem with Billy Bean or his sexuality. Good for him for living his life the way he wants to and doing so in a public manner. Everyone should be able to do the same without fear of persecution. Especially in this day and age.
Bean, who is also a contributor on MLB.com, wrote a piece today regarding his experience with the Mets. It’s worth a read. This is an excerpt from regarding Murphy:
“After reading his comments, I appreciate that Daniel spoke his truth. I really do. 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.”
“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.”
This is why I have a problem with the backlash Murphy has received in these last 24 hours. The man stood there and reiterated his personal beliefs. He did not commit some hate crime. You didn’t see Murphy protest his presence, refuse to get dressed in the same locker room or participate in anything involving Bean. In fact, he did the complete opposite. Murphy spoke with Bean and got to know him a little bit. If Bean, the man who was supposed to be offended the most by these comments, was able to walk away with respect for Murphy – why can’t everyone else?
We do not have to agree on everything in this country. That’s what is supposed to make America great. We have the freedom to differentiate ourselves from one another with our own personal beliefs.
Feel free to disagree with Daniel Murphy. You have every right to. But don’t hate the man for having a belief different than yours. Billy Bean doesn’t.