Justin Verlander: Gay teammate would be welcomed by Tigers

Published On March 6, 2013 | By Meghan Riggs

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is a leader on the mound and a leader in the clubhouse. The Tigers ace is also open to accepting a player for who he is, no matter if that player is gay.

On Tuesday, in an interview with CNN, Verlander chatted with Carol Costello about the prospect of receiving a new contract in excess of Felix Hernandez’s $200 million deal, as well as his goals for the season. Then, Costello shifted the conversation to a more serious note, asking Verlander if he believed there were any gay players in baseball.

Verlander says he knows there are gay players currently in the major leagues and doesn’t mind.

Unlike teammate Torii Hunter, who expressed in the offseason that he would be uncomfortable having an openly gay teammate, Verlander feels it is more important for teams to create a family atmosphere and be accepting of any player who came out as gay.

“I feel like that we have that atmosphere here. I don’t think one of our players would be scared to come out. We’ve got 25 guys, it’s a family and our goal is to win a World Series. What your sexual orientation is, I don’t see how that affects the ultimate goal of our family.”

It seems the majority of the issue that straight players who are uncomfortable with playing alongside openly gay teammates have is inside the locker room. Verlander said he couldn’t see how anything would change but said the issue would be the comfort in the locker room.

“It’s a tricky subject because you start getting into locker rooms, walking around nude, or whatever. As with any sport, a gay player probably would be hesitant to come out.”

Costello then asked if, in the near future, a Major League Baseball player will announce that he’s gay during his playing career.

“I don’t see why not,” Verlander responded.

So far, no active major league baseball player has come out as gay.

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About The Author

Meghan is a junior at Boston University majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communications. She has been an athlete her whole life and is a member of the Women’s Ice Hockey team at BU. She is also a member of BUTV10’s sports talk show, Off Sides.