LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Former pitcher Tyler Dunnington says he retired from baseball due to several incidents of anti-gay comments.
Dunnington says that he did not come out as gay while he was pitching for the Cardinals in Class A baseball in 2014 but did leave the game entirely after overhearing a series of derogatory comments from teammates in 2015.
Dunnington, now openly gay, says he has experienced homophobia throughout his baseball career.
“I was one of the unfortunate closeted gay athletes who experienced years of homophobia in the sport I loved,” Dunnington said.
“I was able to take most of it with a grain of salt, but towards the end of my career, I could tell it was affecting my relationships with people, my performance, and overall happiness,” he added.
The Cardinals organization says they are taking these claims “very seriously” and have launched an investigation into the matter.
“This is very disappointing, and our hope is that every player, staff member and employee feels that they are treated equally and fairly,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.
The team also said it will work with MLB Ambassador For Inclusion Billy Bean, a former major league player who has since come out as gay to try to solve the issues that still haunt the sport today.
Bean says he does not blame the Cardinals organization but pins the problem on the league as a whole.
“Until players are able to be 100 percent comfortable with who they are, we have to work harder and harder off the field,” Bean said.