Drew University Baseball Player Comes Out as Gay To His Team


Visibility of gay athletes increased one notch further last Sunday as Matt Kaplon, baseball player for and student of Drew University, came out of the closet to his teammates. Inspired by the story of gay NCAA basketball player Derek Schell, Kaplon credits him with saving his life and said of his own coming out,

Everyone tells me that college is supposed to be the best four years of my life. I've had a great time, but for three and a half of them, I've been hiding things and not being the real me. Building friendships and meeting people and with my teammates, they know part of me but I finally feel like I want them to know everything. I want to be me 100% and make sure they know I'm not hiding anything. I'm ready for that. I'm ready to start not having to hide.

Kaplon was welcomed warmly by his team and congratulated on his decision to come out. Even his coach, Brian Hirschberg, was proud of him.

He's as close to a family member as anyone I've ever coached. He's like a younger brother to me. When Matt shared his story with me, I respected him more, if that's even possible.


  1. Stefan says

    Such a beautiful story. It really illustrates how the movement is building off of itself, and how we as a community are there for one-another.

  2. Excuse Me! says

    Don’t get me wrong, it is admirable that this young man came out. But look at him: he is young, masculine and good looking, participates in sports and thereby falls along all the norms “acceptable men” are supposed to be in our society but just happens to be gay. Other than his internal anguish, he was, in all likelihood, under the radar and was able to carry on in public and among his fellow schoolmates with no problem. Once again, the fact that he came out is admirable. But now think of the young men who cannot help but lisp, struggle to keep their “mannerisms” in check and get bullied, beaten and killed in school and in public. Now think of the courage these second group of young men have to have to wake up every morning and face the world everyday. Therefore, I ask you that before we all swoon over the coming out of these “brave” athlete types, to give kudos to the brave “sissy” types who have no way of hiding from who they really are. And lets not forget that it is the brave “sissy” types who paved and still are paving the way with their blood, tears and, in many cases, with their lives the whole gay movement because they do not have the choice to be considered “otherwise”.

  3. gabriel says

    EXCUSE ME! – I’m not disagreeing with you at all about those who are not able to “hide” being gay as easily. They truly have to fight the battle daily. But what in this story or in the comments made you feel the need to post this?

    In my opinion, all visibility is important. Whether it’s the ‘masc’ gay guy playing sports that can ‘hide’ (i hate both of those words, but whatever), or it’s the stereotypical femme guy who is forced to deal with every day. All of these guys are in our community. Being out and honest – regardless of perceived sexuality – is brave no matter what.

    I applaud all LGBTs who come out. Even if everyone else around them says “of course”

    (also, I know some genuinely straight guys who exhibit these same characteristics you mention and they deal with the same issues. That problem is society’s perception of masculinity)

  4. Excuse Me! says

    @ Gabriel: Perhaps my passion has made my previous entry perplexing. It is just that, from my perspective at least, gay visibility and idealization has shifted more towards the “not fem, not fat, straight appearing, straight acting(whatever that means)” type. I just want to put in here, before someone jumps up calling me bitter and what not, that I have a man whom I love and we are on our 12th year of relationship. Now back to the subject we were discussing: ) I, like you, wanted to point out that we are in this together and all among us deserve the same recognition in our ongoing struggle.

  5. Mhm says

    Masculine men are the majority. Effeminate men, straight or gay – are NOT. Stop trying to paint gay men as freaking sissies. WE ARE NOT.

    I’m openly gay, like I’m supposed to be, but I really am tired of gender politics ruining the gay rights struggle. Wanna wear dresses and heals ( you crypto mysogynist) – stop pretending that has anything to do with your sexual orientation…Even my own mother hates heals.

    Drag = female oPpression. There I sAID IT.

  6. says

    1. He waited until he was ready to graduate until he did it. He’ll be gone from the school soon. If he had come out his first year of college, that would have been a lot more brave.

    2. He’s being way over-dramatic. No one asked him to “hide” who he really is.

    3. No one asked him to come out to his team. Everything he says above is “me, me, me.”

  7. Mhm says

    All the queen bitter effimente gays will always hate masc gay guys. It’s their sickness and it’s pretty hypocritical. Look at the commenter above me, the wretch – he really should be gay bashed.

  8. Michael says


    Just like every other gay guy who bitches about femme men, it’s a safe bet you and your femme ways can be spotted a mile away.

    @Excuse me,

    Totally agree with you. Great. This guy was able to hide who he was. Made it through high school and into college without having to “come out”. While it’s great he decided to come out, there is that group of gay male youth that have no choice, the ones who get bullied, the ones who commit suicide. There is extensive, long lasting damage to these kids and it doesn’t help people like MHM want to throw these types of guys back in the closet.

  9. says



    Why should I be gay-bashed for having an opinion? Kids have been coming out in high school since the 1980’s (and before) and there have been gay support groups in most colleges since the 1990s.

    It’s kind of scary that you advocate violence against other gays.

  10. Mhm says

    You haven’t stated facts you nelly gay queer. All you did was list why other gay men should dislike this baseball player – and for what?

    Get real.

  11. Mhm says

    Actually you’re sick for criticizing when a gay man comes out. You are the perverse idiot. All your previous posts indicate a certain amount of antipathy and jealousy. Why do you hate gay men? What is YOUR problem?

  12. Excuse Me! says

    LOL @ MHM: Isn’t she being cute trying desperately to act all butch! Listen dear, your slip is showing. Take our advice and quit overcompensating–we can see your insecurities a mile away. Now be a dear, put on your face and your prettiest dress and lip sync for us like the drag queen you really are. Now let’s see if we can guess your drag name–MHM? Is it Miss Hardly Manly?

  13. Lymis says

    Absolutely, the kids who don’t fit in and can’t fit in and proudly stand up and say that they don’t intend to even try to fit in and that there’s nothing wrong with that are heroes. And in a lot of ways, they have always and will continue to change the world.

    But that shouldn’t invalidate the very real but different kind of courage it takes to come out when you can hide, and under circumstances where continuing to hide is a real choice.

    Nor should it minimize the practical effect it has on people who hate, fear, and put down gay people precisely because they see gay people as different from them, when someone they see as “just like them” comes out.

    We need our drag queens AND our sports jocks, our interior designers AND our Marines, our bears AND our bodybuilders.

    Yes, the overweight, shy drama club math geek who comes out won’t get national attention for it, and that takes one very real kind of courage. But this kid DID just go national, with all of the opportunities for people he’s never even met to judge him publicly and attack him for it, and that takes another very real kind of courage.

    We need to support both.

  14. DannyEastVillage says

    I love guys who are the way they are and make no apologies for it. THAT is what is sexy, whether it’s a skinny fem dude or a fake-macho gym-bunny or somebody like my bf who’s a general contractor who can operate a jackhammer and a sewing machine with equal facility.

    A lot of the people posting here expose only their own self-hatred when they discuss this issue.

    I’ll say it yet again: nobody hates gay men like gay men.

  15. Jason Macbride says

    Why so much animosity directed at a young man for coming out? He probably helped thousands of struggling young gay kids feel better about themselves. Good for him.

  16. theotherlee says

    As a “butch” gay.. I’d like to reiterate something I told a group of people, not too long ago…

    The fem gays are getting praised for their bravery, more and more, for coming out nowadays. Which, is FABULOUS!! (No, really, it’s great, and I love it!)

    But what really sucks is.. growing up gay, in Texas, in the 70s, in a religious (Southern Baptist) home… hearing from friends and family alike, just how disgusting “fags” are, and how “deserving” they are of eternal damnation… because they are salvageable deviates. Only to fight against that.. regardless of the fact they had no idea they were talking about, YOU. To then actually come out at the age of 15, be degraded by your family, as you knew you would… but then be harangued by the gay community, too… because you aren’t the right *kind* of gay. You are “repressing” yourself, if you are “butch” … you’re an “internalized homophobe” because you aren’t prissy.. don’t do fashion *anything* .. aren’t into show tunes, or drag queens. No, I’d rather go camping in the woods than take a shopping trip to the mall. I’d rather watch horror flicks, than Drag Race. I’d rather watch football, or rugby over – Dancing with the Stars, or Figure Skating.

    I’d just like to point out, for all of the effeminate gay men out there that were told by their parents to “put down the Barbie, and pick up a football” ~ as traumatic as that is to them, the same can be said for me, and those like me, that are told by the gay community that is *supposed* to be supportive of “diversity”, that we are wrong, hiding our “true selves” or the utmost… an internalized homophobe…

    Get it together guys! I’m gay because I *love* men, find them sexy, and want to do dirty, dirty things in my bed with them… Shopping, effeminacy, and screaming “Hey GURL” … doesn’t.

    We ALL need the support of the community, our girlie brothers, our tomboy sisters.. and the Jock, and the Lipstick… We’re all in this together. We *ALL* are attacked for who we love. We need to not be the ones doing the attacking, too…


  17. John says

    Hey, folks, way too much vitriol. Everyone is unique. We all have to do what is right for us. I’m glad to see young people coming out, whatever their story. When I was his age, the term “coming out” hadn’t even been applied to sexuality – it was strictly for debutantes. I wish I had known even one out person then – it would have made my life so much easier!

  18. Yup says

    All ’em athletes coming out is like an avalanche. I don’t remember it ever happening as much as this ever before. I’m really glad they do come out. It makes it a lot easier for others to come out.

    It’s a shame there’s more gay-bashing and claptrap on this comment field than on ESPN.

  19. miami says

    Wow, somebody needs to clean up this section, its getting out of control and its bad for all of our image. Some people have way too much time on their hands.

  20. says

    Hey MHM:

    Your internalized homophobia shows how sad you are. All the gross, homophobic names you said and your hopes that someone will get “gay bashed”… you are really just saying those things about yourself. Everything you said describes you. I agree with the other post that you are sick in the head.

    As for all the other gay people in this comments section who remained silent about MHM’s bigoted and violent comments, what a bunch of cowards you are. Learn to be a community and stick up for others against bullying. Straights won’t respect you until you learn to respect yourselves and each other.

    No wonder why this baseball player waited so long to come out if you all are any example of what’s out there.

  21. emjayay says

    It wouldn’t be TR comments without a bunch of Debbie Downers and a homophobe or two. And thank god a bunch of well written well thought out comments that said what needs to be said.

  22. Bryan says

    Before I came out, the four worst bullies I dealt with in high school and then my first two years of college were guys who I thought were merely fundies or jocks living up to the stereotypes in my head. Years later, three came out and one was convicted of child molestation. After I came out, the worst vitriol was from gay guys who thought I was “straight acting,” whatever that means.

    So, it’s not surprising to see a few gay men tearing each other apart and going after a baseball player they’ve never met. Sad, but not surprising. At least plenty of men on here who are willing to be decent human beings. For any young people reading these comment threads regularly, know that the positive voices are the majority of gay men.

Leave A Reply