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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. @BIGGUY I have no idea where you got those rankings, but they are laughable. Perhaps in the NCAA division MIT competes in (which is doubtless the lowest classification) they are ranked that high, but swimming? LOL. Track and field? LOL.

    Henry Holland's post was dead-on and anyone living in the real world understands it. As long as there is a stigma attached to "gay" (i.e. as long as "gay" equates to effeminacy and a lack of masculinity in the popular mind--in other words, as long as the culture of effeminacy persists), then few, if any, big-time athletes will ever come out, because they have no desire to embrace or associate with such a culture or mindset.

    Posted by: Rick | Feb 11, 2013 3:05:03 PM

  2. Ummmm... Anyone else concerned this kid has posted on here, his site and twitter that he's being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. Sean if you are still on here please explain. Youve got lots of support. If anyone else has contact with him please make sure support is there.

    Posted by: Concern | Feb 11, 2013 3:26:45 PM

  3. as long as cowardly adults refuse to come out and blame "effeminate guys" for it, those cowards can forget calling themselves "manly", or "masculine", or even MEN.

    you're a bunch of wimpy little boys with no balls to speak of.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Feb 11, 2013 3:31:59 PM

  4. @Rick: Those are Division III rankings.

    In other words, MIT has a perfectly reasonable sports program for a Division III school. Are they the University of Alabama? No. Are they a bunch of hard-working guys and gals who are pretty good at what they do? Absolutely. (Compare, for instance, to Caltech, which has an abysmal athletic program.)

    I speak this as a former member, and current assistant coach, of a sports team at MIT. At one point during my career, our squad was ranked in the top 15 in the country (that was Division I; MIT has one Division I team: rowing).

    I wish Sean the best. I was openly gay throughout my tenure at MIT and never experienced a single issue. MIT students tend to be highly tolerant and accepting, given that many of them were somewhat outcast themselves in high school. But there are openly gay collegiate athletes *everywhere.* It's only a matter of time before one of these athletes makes it to the pros.

    Posted by: Lucas | Feb 11, 2013 6:47:15 PM

  5. I tried to read Karson's webpage and gave up. I found it unreadable in many ways. I suspect the problem with Outsports was that Karson was not used to being told "no".

    In spite of the above, congratulations!

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Feb 11, 2013 7:45:35 PM

  6. Good for him! Closet cases are disgusting! And live in shame.
    Congrats to this COURAGEOUS guy for being true to himself!

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 12, 2013 4:54:21 AM

  7. Good for him! Probably not at all easy - lots of self-inflicted needless fear involved in that decision. It probably helps that he is surrounded by highly intelligent people.

    Posted by: oliver | Feb 12, 2013 10:47:42 AM

  8. @Oliver,

    Spending a good portion of my life surrounded by 'highly intelligent people' like those at MIT, I can confidently inform you many of these 'highly intelligent people' are also certifiable. There does seem to be a fine line between 'highly intelligent people' and mental illness.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 12, 2013 12:31:04 PM

  9. MIT has a baseball team??!!

    Posted by: Lester | Feb 13, 2013 12:16:01 AM

  10. This man is a role model to so many other students who are still in fear of ridicule and family hostility but he is a terrific role model. America needs so many today. Hopefully he is the start of of other players society looks up to without fear or loathing. The world needs more of these gutsy guys & gals too. Kudos!
    Remember, IT GETS BETTER.

    Posted by: Dr. Tyler | Feb 26, 2013 12:49:22 PM

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