The ex-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kevin McClatchy, has come out in a newspaper interview.
The heir to a newspaper chain sat down with the New York Times to explain why he stayed in the closet when he ran the team, and what he hopes will happen for LGBT people involved in professional sports.
'You’re not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue,' he said to the newspaper. 'And there’s no dialogue right now.'
In 1996, the then 33-year-old, become the youngest owner of an US baseball team (he was the leader of a number investors who purchased the Pittsburgh Pirates). Up until 2007, he was the team’s managing general partner and chief executive officer. He stayed in the closet, minus a small group of family and friends, because he did not think baseball was ready for an out owner. The hiding came at a cost.
'I think I was more paranoid, for sure, about people,' he said to newspaper. 'And suspicious, definitely. And angry.'
Despite this, he's certain that keeping his private life under wraps was best for his career as a baseball executive because of the sport's homophobic culture. Before he purchased the team someone, who didn't want the team sold to McClatchy's group, threatened to make a public a rumor he was gay. McClatchy doubted the person would talk, but did come out to his sister just in case.
What his revelation will mean to the fans of Pittsburgh, the second largest city in the northeastern state of Pennsylvania, is anyone's guess. But it should be noted, the Pirates did not have a winning record with McClatchy at the helm.
'I think this is a big test,' said Cyd Zeigler, a co-founder of Outsports.com, said to the paper. 'So I’m curious to see how the public, particularly in Pittsburgh, responds,' he continued.