Implicitly acknowledging the existence of gay athletes, Major League Baseball is about to beef up its policy prohibiting antigay harassment and discrimination in the workplace. MLB will be distributing a workplace code of conduct to every player in the major and minor leagues, providing new traning sessions and create a central complaint system to report offenses. The new policy is scheduled to be announced in conjunction with All-Star activities on Tuesday.
MLB already has a nondiscrimination clause in its collective bargaining policy, so the latest move isn’t exactly new. But it is a high-visibility recognition of the existence of gay athletes, even if there are no out MLB players. The pertinent players are falling all over themselves with carefully worded statements proclaiming baseball to be a haven of nondiscrimination.
“We welcome all individuals regardless of sexual orientation into our ballparks, along with those of different races, religions, genders and national origins,” Selig stated. “Both on the field and away from it, Major League Baseball has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
The MLB announcement follows a similar agreement with the National Football League that was negotiated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman was also instrumental in drafting the MLB policy.
If a poll this year is any indication, MLB has its work cut out for itself. Only five percent of players admit to knowing a gay player, while nearly half owned firearms. Not exactly the most promising field for a gay player to play on.