After spending one season in the Minor Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals, pitcher Tyler Dunnington quit the team upon hearing teammates and a coach talk about wanting to kill gay people.
He tells Outsports, “I wanted to share my story with you.”
My name’s Tyler Dunnington, and I was a 28th-round pick by the St Louis Cardinals in the 2014 MLB Draft. I was one of the not-so-many players to be given a chance to pursue my dream of being a Major League Baseball player.
I was also one of the unfortunate closeted gay athletes who experienced years of homophobia in the sport I loved. 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 my overall happiness.
I experienced both coaches and players make remarks on killing gay people during my time in baseball, and each comment felt like a knife to my heart. I was miserable in a sport that used to give me life, and ultimately I decided I needed to hang up my cleats for my own sanity.
After a little over a year of being gone from the game I’ve come to realize I thought I was choosing happiness over being miserable. That is not necessarily the case. My passion still lies in baseball, and removing myself from the game didn’t change that. Most of the greatest memories I have are with this sport. After gaining acceptance from my friends and family I realized I didn’t have to quit baseball to find happiness.
I not only wanted to share my story but also apologize for not using the stage I had to help change the game. Quitting isn’t the way to handle adversity, and I admire the other athletes acting as trailblazers.”
According to ABC News, the St. Louis Cardinals are taking the allegations “very seriously.”
“This is very disappointing and our hope is that every player, staff member and employee feels that they are treated equally and fairly,” said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak in a statement. “Given the nature of these allegations, I will certainly look into this further.”
Watch Dunnington discuss the incident below.