Saturday, Kevin Baxter of the LA Times released an article entitled “In pro sports, gay athletes still feel unwelcome” stating that the country’s four major sports leagues remain among the last bastions of homophobia in the U.S. And within the article Baxter supposedly quoted current Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter (who spent the last several seasons in LA with the Angels) saying that he would feel uncomfortable having a gay teammate.
…But former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, among baseball’s most thoughtful and intelligent players, isn’t kidding when he says an “out” teammate could divide a team.
“For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” he says. “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”
With the release of the Baxter’s article, Hunter took to Twitter to refute the comments saying that his quotes were misrepresented and that he has love and respect for all human beings regardless of race, color or sexual orientation.
I’m very disappointed in Kevin Baxter’s article in which my quotes and feelings have been misrepresented. He took two completely separate quotes and made them into one quote that does not express how I feel as a Christian or a human being . I have love and respect for all human beings regardless of race, color or sexual orientation. I am not perfect and try hard to live the best life I can and treat all people with respect. If you know me you know that I am not anti anything and to be portrayed as anti-gay in this article is hurtful and just not true
Still despite Hunter’s refute the Twitter world reacted and in some cases came down on Hunter just hours after the original LA Times article was released.
I think the real difficulty would be for a gay player to have Torii Hunter as a teammate.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) December 30, 2012
@toriihunter48 Watch out Torii! I heard from the Republican party that the gays are contagious! in other news…YOU ARE IGNORANT!
— Sam Ross (@sross0830) December 31, 2012
@toriihunter48 Having a bigot as a teammate would be "difficult and uncomfortable"
— Kevin (@KevKasten) December 31, 2012
Torri Hunter isn't a bigot for having an opinion. If anything, he's guilty of being honest. I bet a majority of MLB players agree with him.
— Brew Town Boozer (@Simplekindoffan) December 31, 2012
Before everybody starts vilifying @toriihunter48, it's important that we give the man a chance to explain what he meant.
— Jim Eustice (@JimEustice) December 31, 2012
wow Torii Hunter is an idiot
— Young Oprah Winfrey (@PimpRadio) December 31, 2012
So is this media fraudulence by Baxter or Hunter back tracking? I think the interesting thing will be to see if any further individuals who were quoted in the article step forward citing misinterpretation.
I do however believe that one of the bigger lessons that can be taken out of this whole matter is taking a step back and waiting first for everything to come out. Especially after looking at some of those Twitter reactions.
h/t: LA Times, iDigitalTimes.com, Twitter