For the record, he’s a catcher.
Just had to get that out of our system. The coming-out story of 21-year-old Drew University baseball player Matt Kaplan is everything we love to hear about gays in traditionally antigay settings: there’s really no story at all.
No name calling; no protests; no angry coach. Just teammates supporting one another — a sign of the shifting perceptions of sexuality, masculinity and athleticism.
Kaplan came out to his coach first, who was entirely unfazed by the star player’s revelation. He told a reporter:
” [Matt is] as close to a family member as anyone I’ve ever coached. He’s like a younger brother to me. When Matt shared his story with me, I respected him more, if that’s even possible.
His teammates had similar responses, getting up to shake his hand after they’d been called together so Matt could address everyone at once. Teammate and friend Anthony Feltre had this to add:
“It doesn’t change a thing. If anything, since he told me this really personal thing we’ve started hanging out more and talking about more serious things.”
And another immediately told him:
“That was the manliest thing I’ve ever seen.”
The rest of the team just applauded.
That’s not to say it was an altogether easy journey for Kaplan, who’s endured hearing homophobic language among teammates his whole life, but stories like this give us hope that a future in which being gay is accepted in a stereotypically masculine environment is not so far off.
You can read the full story here.