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MIT Baseball Captain Comes Out To His Team

Out Boston Herald writer Steve Buckley profiles Massachusetts Institute of Technology junior Sean Karson, the gay co-captain of the school's baseball team. Last week, Karson came out to his teammates in a moving speech. The ballplayer has received immense support from them since.

The Herald piece chronicles the leadup to his big revelation:


A couple of days ago, during an indoor practice at MIT, Karson asked coach Andy Barlow if he could say a few words to his teammates.

“I had no idea what he had in mind,” Barlow said. “He had just returned from a conference in California, so I assumed he was going to talk about his company.”

Instead, Karson took a deep breath, and told his coaches and teammates that he’s gay.

“They came up and gave me high fives and said they’d have my back and everything,” he said. “It was so supportive, it was ridiculous.”

Karson did notice a couple of teammates held back, but got emails from them afterward saying "how much they respected me, but that they needed to collect their thoughts first."

So deeply emotional was Karson’s decision to come out that later that night, during an interview at his MIT dorm, he was still welling up with tears.

“I barely held it together,” he said. “I was probably not the most coherent person when I was giving that speech, but that was the third time I cried in the past week. And this is the fourth, I guess.”

Karson, who reveals on his own site that he's know he was gay since the age of 13, says that "I have never been myself up until very recently." 

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  1. @Henry Holland: to put that in perspective, MIT has had a football program for only 21 years. Before that, there were other sports, but not football.

    The closest before that was a balloon that popped out of the field in a football game between Harvard and Yale.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 10, 2013 4:14:52 PM

  2. I don't see anything nerdy about this dude. He is smart, but that is not the same as being a nerd. Also, nerds tend not to be found on team sports, let alone as leaders of their teams. I think he is awesome.

    Added bonus: The guy knows who he is. He doesn't come out as "queer" or as "LGBT" or "LGBTQIAAP". He isn't queer and he isn't a letter in a bizarre alphabet soup filled with heteroexual fetishists. He is gay. He is a man. And that is what he told his teammates. And that, IMO, makes him awesome.

    Posted by: Jake | Feb 10, 2013 4:16:33 PM

  3. Jake, you have a profound amount of sand in your vagina.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Feb 10, 2013 4:32:04 PM

  4. I don't know. The more I look into this kid the more it seems he has some Daddy and maturity issues. Specifically his website geared towards trashing fathers with petty and spiteful anecdotes.

    Yeah we get it: many of us had a crappy parent or two. But don't take to the internet with those gripes. Confront them face-to-face in private or just ignore them.

    Posted by: Bollux | Feb 10, 2013 4:51:26 PM

  5. The Living Room Mysteries (
    “Coming-Out” Narrative Archetype

    As a genre, the coming- out narrative archetype provides a classic forum for the debate of Masculine and Feminine Values. Coming-out storyline is about survival, making good on potential, as much as personal enlightenment and wholeness with the self.

    In the story the Masculine Gay Man sifts through his cultures’ definition of what makes a man a masculine, and what makes a man a “queer,””faggot” “fairy.”

    Deeply affected and inspired by his Feminine Gay Lover, the Masculine Gay Man invariably ends up rebelliously fighting against the abusive attitudes of Anti-Femininity. All this arrives towards a healthy union of masculine and feminine values.

    In this narrative archetype, Feminine and Masculine heroes do approach the status of comrades-in-arms. At the same time, they are both initiator and initiated in terms of merging within their union.

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Feb 10, 2013 5:14:13 PM

  6. But why did he have to make such a production out of it? I'll never understand why some gay guys decide to make coming out in to a big ordeal, gathering everyone together to make a big announcement. It's like making a big deal out of being white or brown-eyed.

    Posted by: Ryan | Feb 10, 2013 6:08:21 PM

  7. Congratulations, Sean. We're proud of you!

    Posted by: will b | Feb 10, 2013 6:16:03 PM

  8. A great example of modern gay youth.

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 10, 2013 6:20:56 PM

  9. Pro players would lose pro endorsements ...that's's always about the money...wise up!!!

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Feb 10, 2013 6:28:27 PM

  10. They're committing me to McLean psychiatric! Help bust me out!

    Posted by: Sean Karson | Feb 10, 2013 6:57:25 PM

  11. Well, that made my day, being insulted by that stuck in 1975 dinosaur Ehrenstein. Still obsessed by Dharun Ravi, you hack?

    Re: Outsports. Yeah, I'd like to know what happened there.

    Again, MIT could be beaten by some of the better high school teams here in Southern California, they are in a conference of ten teams in the Northeast but only 7 play men's sports; they're a Division III team that is one step above club teams at universities. For him to claim that we'll be hearing about MIT's baseball team in the future is laughable.

    I get the feeling he's using his baseball coming out story to hype his websites.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Feb 10, 2013 7:21:57 PM

  12. Sean, if you have come here and are reading some of these bizarre negative comments, please understand that Towleroad has perhaps the most deranged, unhinged, ill-informed, and antisocial commenters of any gay blog. It really is notorious. So don't take any of it personally.

    Ignore the nutters and please accept our congratulations on coming out to the team and best wishes for a great future. Gays and lesbian youth need to see more examples of smart, competitive and positive people like yourself.

    Posted by: Tim | Feb 10, 2013 8:25:16 PM

  13. Jesus H. I couldn't care less if he looks like the Ferengi ambassador. That is the whole point folks.

    Posted by: melvin | Feb 10, 2013 8:49:56 PM

  14. This thread is full of complete and utter fail.

    Congrats Sean on coming out!

    Posted by: Francis | Feb 10, 2013 9:38:10 PM

  15. KIWI is the daughter of Henry Holland and Ms. Ehrenstein.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 10, 2013 9:43:27 PM

  16. @Henry Holland: Unlike some other places that treat an athletic program as a fund-raising activity where the "students" participating in some teams (e.g., football) are there more as professional athletes than students, MIT has always treated sports as something provided for the benefit of its students, whose primary interest is science and engineering (and of course mathematics).

    Students on a baseball/whatever team at MIT may want to do well at it and may be enthusiastic, but it is not the primary reason they are there.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 10, 2013 10:11:21 PM

  17. His sneer is kinda sexy.

    Posted by: Marco | Feb 11, 2013 12:42:44 AM

  18. @Henry Holland: Everyone faces risks when coming out. I'd guess that for most people money is less a concern than loss of friendship, peer validation, public support, etc. What makes someone a man--like this guy--is the realization that living an honest life is infinitely more important than any of the negatives of coming out. Let's not underestimate it.

    Posted by: Stefan | Feb 11, 2013 1:09:30 AM

  19. Most of MIT's teams -- other than basketball & football -- are ranked among the top 100 in the country. They do well in water sports.

    02/04/2013 MIT Sports-Shorts
    National Rankings
    #1 – Women's Cross Country
    #1 – Men's Swimming and Diving
    #5 – Women's Swimming and Diving
    #5 – Water Polo
    #9 – Women's Sailing
    #11 – Co-ed Sailing
    #12 – Women's Indoor Track & Field
    #13 – Men's Volleyball
    #14 – Men's Indoor Track & Field
    #15 – Women's Soccer
    #18 – Field Hockey
    #21 – Women's Tennis

    Posted by: BigGuy | Feb 11, 2013 2:21:51 AM

  20. Great Guy, strong & cute to boot... best of success to him and the team!

    Posted by: William X. Wilkerson | Feb 11, 2013 2:34:02 AM

  21. @Sean,

    MIT student = Brillant,eccentric - McLean Hospital

    UMASS student = Batshit crazy - Bridgewater State Hospital

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 11, 2013 9:15:52 AM

  22. What a wonderful guy. Congratulations to him
    and his parents who must be so proud of him.

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 11, 2013 10:24:10 AM

  23. I think Baseball Is a great game. Most or sport if they found out if they had a plyer that was gay they would had them kicked of the team. I see they did not kick you off the team. Your teammates suported you. The older generation thinks in side the box the yunger genutation thinks out side the box.
    I am glade you come out it will make you fill better about yourself.Being gay will get better over time. There are still people out there that races people out in the world so be carefull out there.

    Posted by: Timothy Nichols | Feb 11, 2013 11:15:44 AM

  24. Now the NFL people need to be more like you . They need to stop hate comments.

    Posted by: Timothy Nichols | Feb 11, 2013 11:18:20 AM

  25. Good for you, Steve! You're my hero.

    Posted by: Michael in Toronto | Feb 11, 2013 1:16:07 PM

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