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Major League Baseball players poll: 81% ready for openly gay player

Says one infielder: 'There will be a couple of jerks. But the majority of people are going to be like, "So what?"'
Former Major League Baseball player Billy_Bean

A new poll of Major League Baseball players shows that a strong majority of those surveyed believe their sport is ready to have an openly gay player.

ESPN Magazine has surveyed 143 players on a variety of topics including this question: Do you agree or disagree with Joe Girardi that MLB is ready for an openly gay player?

A solid 81% of the players said yes while just 19% said no.

One National League All Star said: 'We come in here and we're all trying to do the same thing. Who cares what a guy does in his own time?'

An infielder in the National League remarked that while there will be people who are going to give a guy a hard time, 'not too many' will.

'There will be a couple of jerks,' he said. 'But the majority of people are going to be like, "So what?"'

No Major League Baseball player has come out publicly during their playing career and only a few have come out in retirement.

Former San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers player Billy Bean (pictured) came out publicly in 1999, four years after he retired prematurely - partly due to the stress of playing while in the closet.

Bean wrote about his experiences in the memior Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life in and out of Major League Baseball.

The late Glenn Burke, who died from AIDS-related causes in 1995, had come out to his teammates during his playing days with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics.

His honesty hurt his career with homophobic coaches limiting his opportunities.

Burke once told the New York Times that 'prejudice drove me out of baseball sooner than I should have. But I wasn't changing.'

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