Major League Baseball Takes Big Step to Protect Players from Anti-Gay Discrimination, Harassment

MlbAt an event Tuesday afternoon prior to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman , Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (below, top right) and Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) Executive Director Michael Weiner will announce groundbreaking steps to protect current and future players for discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, according to a press release obtained by Towleroad.

SeligFollowing discussions with the Attorney General's office, MLB and MLBPA agreed to undertake new actions to reinforce its workplace discrimination policies, including the creation and dissemination of a Workplace Code of Conduct to be distributed to every Major and Minor League player and posted in each locker room conveying MLB’s non-discrimination policies.

The League also agreed to implement new training opportunities for team officials and create a centralized complaint system for reporting incidents involving harassment and discrimination…

…As a result of MLB's and MLBPA’s cooperation with the Attorney General's office, the League has committed to additional steps to ensure that “America’s pastime” is open to all players, regardless of sexual orientation. Among these steps, MLB has agreed to develop and disseminate materials on sexual orientation non-discrimination to all Club Scouting and Farm Directors involved in the acquisition of amateur talent.

This will help to create a culture of acceptance early in the process. In addition, MLB’s Office of the Commissioner will conduct training sessions for Club and League officials and staff at the bi-annual industry meetings. The next meeting is scheduled for November 2013 in Orlando, Florida and will include training on sexual orientation non-discrimination principles.

In addition to the centralized point of contact, those who assist in making or investigating complaints will also be protected from retaliation.

SchneidermanSaid Schneiderman (right):

“No one should face harassment or discrimination whether their workplace is an office park or a baseball diamond. By making a clear stand against discrimination in the workplace, our National Pastime is showing national leadership in the fight to promote equal justice for all. I am committed to using every tool at my disposal to ensure equal protection under the law for all employees no matter where they work, and I applaud Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association for working cooperatively with our office to promote a culture of inclusion and equality.”

Added Selig:

“I expect all those who represent Major League Baseball, as a social institution that has important social responsibilities, to act with kind of respect and sensitivity that our game’s diverse players, employees and fans deserve. We welcome all individuals regardless of sexual orientation into our ballparks, along with those of different races, religions, genders and national origins. Both on the field and away from it, Major League Baseball has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.”


  1. trg says

    This is great news. Progress, not perfection.

    I have no doubt that this will have a huge impact on future recruits – gay, bi or whatever.

    For current players on the fence about acceptance this will also have a positive impact. I’ve known more than a few jocks who’ve relaxed and become totally accepting, and sometimes very supportive after their friends have come out.

  2. Jay says

    Very good news. I think gay athletes are more concerned with the audiences than their teammates. But this effort by the MLB/MLBPA is a good, solid step in the right direction.

  3. Francis #1 says

    It’s great news in the sense that a) teams/coaches that want to be active in fostering an accepting atmosphere have the resources now to do so and b) players who are closeted, glass closeted, or accepting straight players, who hear negative and hateful language, have somewhere to turn to. They had nothing before, meaning that even if they wanted to speak up, they effectively could not without putting a spotlight on themselves and causing an issue. Now they can contact the MLB’s Commissioners Office and contact and help rectify any potential issues regarding homophobia within the locker room. That’s VERY important and should go a long way in eliminating hate speech in locker rooms.

    That is, of course, if players feel comfortable enough to use these resources or feel threatened if they do, that they will effectively out themselves or be thought of as gay. Ultimately only 5% of MLB players know a gay player. That means the gay/bi guys are VERY VERY closeted. Policies are one thing, culture is another, and that’s what has to change to see real change. But this sure will go a long way to helping make feel gay/bi players feel less alone and more comfortable and that’s awesome.

  4. DavidR says

    This is great. As the gay father of a boy who’s VERY into baseball, I’m glad to know we’re participating in a sport that’s on the right track.

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