Mets general manager Sandy Alderson invited Billy Bean, a former major league player who is openly gay, to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Tuesday to talk to his players about acceptance in the clubhouse.
Alderson and Mets manager Terry Collins told the players about former MLB outfielder Glenn Burke, who died from complications of AIDS in 1995.
“I disagree with the lifestyle,” Murphy told the New York Daily News. “But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love a teammate who is gay. I was glad he was here today and to hear his story.”
Murphy acknowledges that many people would disagree with his use of "lifestyle."
"I completely understand why someone who believes it is not a choice, that you’re born with it, would take issue with my beliefs, that it is a lifestyle," he told the News.
Bean, who was named baseball "Ambassador for Inclusion" by former MLB commissioner Bud Selig last July, said he did not show up at the Mets spring training to change anyone’s mind about the subject. Bean played six major league seasons and says he was never comfortable as a gay man while playing.
“We’re allowed to be who and what we want,” Bean said. “But I think the important thing is understanding the big picture—that if you are a player on the Mets or in a big-league uniform, there’s a huge responsibility that goes with that. And I think they can understand that, regardless of what their personal opinion is of me. I can’t be everybody’s best friend."
Murphy likened the issue to “uncharted territory" and says he disagrees with the assumption that those who are Christians will not accept a gay teammate.
“Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven't been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality," Murphy said to NJ.com. "We love the people. We disagree with the lifestyle. That's the way I would describe it for me. It's the same way that there are aspects of my life that I'm trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There's a great deal of many things, like my pride."
- Scooby Axson