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Kevin McClatchy, Newspaper Scion And Former Pittsburgh Pirates Owner, Comes Out

McClatchyKevin McClathy stepped down at CEO of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007, eleven years after the then-33 year old stepped in to take control of the baseball team.

In the five years since, McClatchy has done a lot of thinking and growing and today, in an interview with The New York Times' Frank Bruni, came out of the closet.

"I’ve got a birthday coming up where I’m turning old," the soon-to-be 50 year old told Bruni. "I’ve spent 30 years — or whatever the number is specifically — not talking about my personal life, lying about my personal life."

But McClatchy, heir to the McClatchy newspaper chain, says his announcement, a big one for the wide world of sports, where despite greater acceptance of LGBT culture as a whole not one major player has come out while still on the court, field or pitch, is about more than just private acceptance. He hopes to inspire a player to come out.

"Tens of thousands of people have played either professional minor league baseball or major league baseball. Not one has come out and said that they’re gay while they’re playing," he said. "You’re not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue. And there’s no dialogue right now."

Chris Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings football player who's also a vocal advocate for equality, said the biggest problem for an openly gay player wouldn't necessarily be homophobia, but narcissism: the fear from players that a gay teammate will ogle them in the locker room. "[But] that assumes that a gay person in the locker room is going to find you attractive, which I think is pretty narcissistic,” said Kluwe. "Isn’t that the shallowest kind of thinking: that all of a sudden if a gay guy comes out, he’s going be staring at you?"

As for McClatchy, he's happily in a committed relationship and just as invested in baseball as ever: "That passion is evident in his home, where one room is devoted entirely to baseball memorabilia and the main area for watching television has three large screens, lined up in a row, so that he can follow multiple games at once."

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  1. GOOD. another brother standing up to be counted.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Sep 22, 2012 12:56:20 PM

  2. Straight baseball players narcissistic?!? Why that's the silliest thing I've heard since Newt Gingrich last spoke about the "sanctity" of marriage!

    Posted by: Jumper | Sep 22, 2012 1:07:51 PM

  3. 50 is not old, 31 is old...gheezuz what a silly thing to say. The other point I find amazing is that he is just now coming out BRAVO, but is in a committed relationship. Why would a self respecting gay man date some one in the closet? Are BOTH men coming out right now?

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Sep 22, 2012 1:16:31 PM

  4. I just wish McClatchy could convince his successor, Bob Nutting, to stop publishing homophobia in his family's newspapers.

    Posted by: Michael | Sep 22, 2012 1:43:57 PM

  5. "Why would a self respecting gay man date some one in the closet?"

    Love, maybe?

    Or is that something you're unfamiliar with?

    Posted by: Jeff NYC | Sep 22, 2012 1:49:49 PM

  6. So true about Narcissism, Get a life, you dungs!

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 22, 2012 1:50:16 PM

  7. @JEff -- Play nice now... When someone comes-out at 50 we need to celebrate that. Perhaps their life and that of those around them would have been enhanced had they come-out earlier, but we can rejoice that it can happen at any age. I'm just happy for him.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Sep 22, 2012 1:52:28 PM

  8. Btw how was the love luxurious life, Mr. McClatchy? You haven;t done no goods so, just stfu!

    Posted by: Pommie | Sep 22, 2012 1:55:32 PM

  9. The gay gene definitely runs in that family.

    Posted by: Jack | Sep 22, 2012 1:59:19 PM

  10. Congrats to him.

    Posted by: Roger | Sep 22, 2012 3:14:32 PM

  11. Now if only he hadn't abused the Pirates by building up players to sell them off at a profit to other franchises, leaving the team for nearly his entire tenure to wallow along through each season. Ridding your team of your talent as soon as they can be sold elsewhere may not hurt your as much in Pittsburgh, where fans bleed black and yellow because economically they were elsewise bled dry, but it was really bad baseball.

    Posted by: Neal | Sep 22, 2012 3:51:04 PM

  12. Soon, there will be a Jackie Robinson moment and the first gay professional athlete will step forward. It will be a media story for a few days - his teammates support him, others players disapprove, there will be taunts from the crowds - and then it will be over. When it happens again after that, it won't be a big deal.

    Look at how the world has changed from Ellen to Anderson. When she came out, it was on the covers of magazines; when Anderson came out, there was very little comment.

    It's progress and it doesn't happen overnight. But it is happening.
    20 years from now, all of this will be over. Equal marriage rights will be the law. Federal discrimination policies will be gone. And kids of that era will have no idea that this was even an issue.

    Posted by: gr8guya | Sep 22, 2012 4:00:23 PM

  13. What a hypocrite ! He is wanting a player to come out of the closet (which would probably ruin the player's career and earning capacity) yet he didn't have the balls to come out when he OWNED the team and could not lose his job !

    He gets to 50 and finally has the balls to come out but he was too cowardly to say anything when he was in real position to introduce change.

    The guy is a COMPLETE LOSER !

    Until we get people who have the money AND the balls to come out we won't get change.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Sep 22, 2012 4:33:24 PM

  14. Icebloo- What if he had never come out? You need to check your judgement and smell the roses! Who are you? Rosa Parks?

    Posted by: ty | Sep 22, 2012 5:36:47 PM

  15. Agree with what Neal said, he was a horrible owner. It's not a shock that the team has gotten better since he left.

    "What if he had never come out?"

    The world would still be spinning around, life would still continue. He reminds me of Rick Welts in the NBA, who spent years firmly in the closet and then came out long after it would have done any real good.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Sep 22, 2012 6:43:48 PM

  16. There has been progress but there is still WAY too much homophobia in the sports world overall and comments around the web regarding Mr. McClatchy proves that. Kevin coming out is great news and he deserves praise for sharing his story. His story is something that can be used to highlight the issues of being gay within sports and be used as a baseline of what needs to be changed to make things better. Also I am happy for Kevin in that he can be himself, be free and not have the weight of being closeted on his shoulders. But for whatever reason, hardcore sports fans tend to be socially ignorant-to-socially conservative. It's going to take a lot of education and definitely a big time player or two coming out to change things all the way.

    Posted by: Francis | Sep 22, 2012 7:08:14 PM

  17. Icebloo got it right, why did he not come out when he owned the damned team? It was no great surprise, every one knew, he was only kidding himself. This means nothin coming from a former owner of a sports team

    Its like Rchard Chamberlain making that statement after he was like a hundred years old.

    And honestly, people come out all over the world, interviewed in the NYTIMEs?

    Posted by: HA! | Sep 22, 2012 9:35:38 PM

  18. I lived in Pittsburgh at the time and everybody knew he was gay. I didn't even know it was a secret.

    Posted by: Jack | Sep 22, 2012 10:27:35 PM

  19. So another cowardly rich white guy comes out when he's reached his "expiration date", has nothing to lose and everyone is supposed to cheer? Got it, thanks.

    Posted by: Yawn | Sep 23, 2012 12:32:59 AM

  20. What does it have to do with being White, Miz Yawn (who is admittedly *tired*)? Do we refer to cowardly rich black guys, like Kanye? And what is your color, woman? You a traitor or just rude?

    Posted by: Antaeus | Sep 23, 2012 2:28:45 AM

  21. A traitor because I see nothing courageous about his coming out?? It's the truth. It takes courage to come out when there's risk. Coming out when you've already stepped down and are now just an old queen looking for a last bit of attention before you fade into oblivion is not courageous. It's too little too late.

    Posted by: Yawn | Sep 23, 2012 2:54:34 AM

  22. There are too many things about McClatchy I do not admire. And, to paraphrase another poster what's the big deal about a rich influential and privileged middle aged guy coming out? People like him have zero to fear or lose. His comment about gay or bi players is all the more disingenuous.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 23, 2012 10:15:45 AM

  23. Like Jack, I lived in Pittsburgh, and the fact McClatchy is gay was the openest open secret in town. If the players reallt didn't know, they must have been even more clueless than most jocks. It was even fairly widely known that his boyfriend at the time was a certain corrupt Republican state legislator, who was also closeted, of course (and who is now doing time in one of the better state penitentiaries).

    Posted by: jomicur | Sep 23, 2012 11:39:30 AM

  24. Thank you for reminding me why I almost never read the comments on this site. Clearly, McClatchy did not pass your out and proud purity test, so it's ok to trash him. The reality is that you are passing judgment on a guy you know almost nothing about. Just because it took him longer to come out than it might have taken you or me does not mean we should attack the guy. Everyone's journey is different. Some are longer than others. I applaud Mr. McClatchy for finding the courage to come out in what is still a very homophobic society.

    Posted by: shawnthesheep | Sep 24, 2012 4:03:15 PM

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