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Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer David Denson has come out publicly as gay, becoming the first active professional baseball player on a Major League Baseball-affiliated team to do so.
Denson, who plays first base for the Brewers’ rookie affiliate in Helena, Mont., told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his decision to come out was prompted in part by a teammate using a gay slur about him last month.
Denson, 20, then made the emotional announcement to many of his teammates before telling his story to the Journal Sentinel.
“Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,” Denson told the publication. “They said, ‘You’re still our teammate. You’re still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You’re still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don’t treat you any different. We’ve got your back.’ ”
“That was a giant relief for me,” the player continued. “I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality.”
Two major-league players, Glenn Burke and Billy Bean, came out as gay after leaving the league. Sean Conroy, a pitcher for the Pacific Association, came out as gay in June, but his league is not connected to MLB.
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