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Former Baseball Player Wants Gay Players To Spare His Feelings


In an op-ed that suggests he hasn't given much thought to the meaning of the words "discrimination," "prejudice," or "ignorance," former Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Mark Knudson (seen in this trading card, which can be made larger for more effect) argues that gay sportsmen should stay in the closet to spare homophobes the horror of being uncomfortable. 

KNUDSONNo one has said that gays should not be allowed to play in the NFL. What has been said is that having a gay teammate would make some players uncomfortable. That's about their feelings. Feelings aren't right or wrong; they're just feelings. It’s telling someone their feelings are wrong that’s the real wrong.

So what's being debated here is not actual discrimination, but rather hurt feelings. Just because [retired out football player Esera Tuaolo] felt uncomfortable about his homosexuality inside a machismo-filled, heterosexual-dominated locker room does not mean he was denied any opportunities. In fact, he endured emotionally and has profited handsomely by taking full advantage of his talents and opportunities.

It's also important to consider that the heterosexual players involved have feelings, too, and they’'e no more or less valid than the feelings of those in the gay community. It's amazing how many people feel free to criticize and tell athletes how they are supposed to feel, as if that’s anyone else's right.

And here I thought the right-wing's "thought police" argument had been retired. And that Kenny Powers was just a fictional caricature from Eastbound & Down.

In all seriousness, though, this is not a surprising sentiment from a former baseball player: of all the major sports, it's America's pastime that remains the most opposed to marriage equality.

(Incredibly well-timed cartoon via The New Yorker.)

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  1. All feelings are created equal, but some feelings are more equal than others.

    Posted by: Chip | Mar 2, 2013 12:25:15 PM

  2. Those feelings are anxieties, worries, insecurities and prejudices that will dissolve once the situation presents itself. It will become obvious that none of the bad things they imagined or worried about were ever founded in reality.

    This line of reasoning could justify any discrimination: "So what's being debated here is not actual discrimination, but rather hurt feelings." If the feelings are founded on prejudice or animus, then they're not legitimate and don't deserve to be catered to.

    Posted by: Kyle | Mar 2, 2013 12:35:17 PM

  3. This will not be popular but hes got a point. We dont force men and women 2 share facilities like locker rooms, primarily because it makes many women uncomfortable. Straight men dont run off claiming discrimination or that they have been branded perverts or potential rapists. Just get separate changing rooms for gay men.

    Posted by: jj | Mar 2, 2013 12:46:49 PM

  4. *eye-roll*

    yes, "feelings"...riiiiight.

    you have to be carefully taught how to hate. having a "feeling" you can't defend or articulate intelligently shows that you have an emotional response due to societal conditioning.

    dear insecure baseball players, rent the old musical "South Pacific" - learn something about how prejudice is not innate; "feelings" be damned.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 2, 2013 12:52:51 PM

  5. It's not the same situation. There's always a threat of sexual violence hanging over different genders sharing a locker room. Not so with an even playing field.

    Should we have separate water fountains next?

    Posted by: Mikey | Mar 2, 2013 12:53:07 PM

  6. JJ has no idea what he's talking about.

    a separate changing room for gays? *LOL*

    you're either not intelligent or are just trolling. or both.

    last i checked, there was a marked difference between gay men and women, gurl.

    it's not about 'us' catering to their insecurities. they can man-up and get over it.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 2, 2013 12:54:46 PM

  7. My brain hurts even trying to respond to his "logic". All we can do is be "sympathetic" to the poor sensitive straight athletes out there who seem ready to burst into tears at the thought that a scary homo cockmonster will be mean to them. No one is saying that heterosexuals can't play, they just need to try and harness their emotions a bit better. Let's give them a collective hug.

    Posted by: niles | Mar 2, 2013 1:03:03 PM

  8. @JJ That's not going to happen. Openly gay people in the locker room has already been tried and proved--in the military, in gyms, etc. Closeted or partially out gay people are already in major league locker rooms, apparently not causing any problems.

    Men and women are segregated in intimate facilities for more reasons than sexual attraction. I mean, would you--presumably a gay man--be comfortable in a woman's locker room? Would they be comfortable with you (even knowing you're gay)?

    A locker room dedicated to a single or even a couple teammates would be humiliating and unnecessary. What's your (and Mark Knudson's) take on gay people in public bathrooms, for Christ's sake?!

    Posted by: Kyle | Mar 2, 2013 1:08:07 PM

  9. As any parent with more than one child will tell you children arrive with many innate orientations: shy/bold, aggressive/passive, stubborn, irritable, cheerful etc. and anywhere on the sexuality continuum. All of these are augmented or minimised by life experience including what you are taught. Very much is indeed innate else what are genes for? We like to believe that we are all created equal (and should behave as if we are) but it ain't so.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Mar 2, 2013 1:13:03 PM

  10. @ JJ :
    Attractive though a locker room of gay athletes may sound.......nonetheless, are you effing mad ?


    This Baseball idiot seems to be saying that the feelings of straights would be hurt if they knew their team mate was " a gay"....and that such "hurt feelings" are valid.
    If that's the point it is nonsensical.
    Homophobic feelings or racist feelings or anti-Jewish feelings would be at the same level of "hurt feelings"....and ,presumably, would be just as valid.
    There are no "feelings".
    There are feelings of hate, dislike,bias, prejudice, homophobia, etc
    But they are all feelings of KIWI says it is an emotional response of something learned or acquired.
    There are no "just feelings"......and there are none without a hinterland.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 2, 2013 1:14:01 PM

  11. I feel like he should be inundated with letters that point out to him what a moronic bigot he is. I hope that won't make him feel uncomfortable but I can't help what I feel.

    Posted by: chris | Mar 2, 2013 1:14:21 PM

  12. i like how he also instantly feels that "straight men" will feel the same insecure was as him. that's odd.

    being straight doesn't mean you're going to be insecure and nervous around gay people.

    and if you think you've never been in a locker room or change room with a gay man or twenty, you're clearly insane. or have never , ever, set foot in one.

    my dad and my straight male friends freakin' march in the pride parades with me. when i turned 19 my straight male friends from highschool surprised me by taking me gay-bar hopping for the first time.

    but this man uses "straight" (or "heterosexual") the way some folks use "Christian" - they assume that everyone else that they think is "like them" is going to similarly feel just like them.

    thankfully, they're wrong.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 2, 2013 1:25:08 PM

  13. I think it would be ideal for an openly gay minor league or college player to be drafted. Scouts should make a point about finding talented gay players. This would probably set a better precedent than the coming out of a major league player. By the way, Dodgers/Oakland outfielder Glenn Burke was out to his teammates and team owners already during the 1970s (!).

    Posted by: Kyle | Mar 2, 2013 1:27:56 PM

  14. I can't believe no one has mentioned that incredible bulge yet.

    Posted by: blank | Mar 2, 2013 1:28:49 PM

  15. It's also interesting that the default is "I feel uncomfortable, so YOU should get a separate locker room and have to shower privately."

    It's never, "I'm the one with the issue, so I need to be the one who is inconvenienced in dealing with my own discomfort." Pee in a stall and ask for a shower curtain or use the shower at the end of the row. It's not your teammates issue that you think you're irresistible.

    Posted by: Lymis | Mar 2, 2013 1:32:07 PM

  16. not too smart, is he? thinks gay people should just suck up discrimination and other kind of mistreatment so that a ridiculous minority of haters won't have to learn to think outside that dark little box they call their mind. What a loser.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Mar 2, 2013 1:47:47 PM

  17. This is exactly the mentality that kept Victorian England (and America) so uptight and absurd. "We don't discuss such things. It's crude -- scarcely to be mentioned in polite society." (Sniff.) In America, this quickly translated into the worship of dishonesty and corruption called "religion."

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | Mar 2, 2013 1:47:48 PM

  18. jj: You have for sure the award to most stupid coment, congratulations

    Posted by: jjose712 | Mar 2, 2013 1:59:02 PM

  19. What about my feelings? Of being repressed? Of not allowing people know who I really am? Of hearing all those cruel jokes in the locker room? Of not being able to talk about my last date? Of not being able to express my own dreams and desires? Of not being allowed to pursue my own happiness?

    Posted by: grench | Mar 2, 2013 2:02:40 PM

  20. This bigot had a career win-loss record of 24-29, and an ERA of 4.72. I'm not impressed. Who gave this LOSER a forum?

    Posted by: French | Mar 2, 2013 2:07:56 PM

  21. By the way, follow the link and read the comments after Knudson's idiotic essay. You might expect a chorus of approval for him but you'd be wrong. WAY wrong. Sometimes, it is really heartening to see how far we've come.

    Posted by: chris | Mar 2, 2013 2:10:08 PM

  22. Just another media whore....move on...

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Mar 2, 2013 2:10:27 PM

  23. So ... sock or real?

    Posted by: Randy | Mar 2, 2013 4:17:37 PM

  24. @Chris, I don't see any comments.

    Posted by: oliver | Mar 2, 2013 4:24:55 PM

  25. Other JJ here, and I'm with @Niles. Any trembling flower who quivers at the thought that some guy might look at his pee-pee is just way too precious. If that scares him so much, what is he going to do when the big grown-up men on the field start throwing 90 mph balls at him?

    Posted by: JJ | Mar 2, 2013 4:54:41 PM

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