In a recent sit-down interview with CNN, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander discussed a number of baseball related topics, including how he would feel if someone on his team was openly gay, Yahoo! Sports reports.
Verlander, a respected pitcher and onetime MVP, told CNN’s Carol Costello that he would totally be OK with an out teammate.
"I don’t think one of our players would be scared to come out. We got 25 guys, it’s a family, and our goal is to win a World Series," Verlander said. "What your sexual orientation is, I don’t see how that affects the ultimate goal of our family."
Though the athlete wouldn’t mind a gay player on his team, the Tigers’ right fielder, Torii Hunter, made headlines in January when he said a gay teammate would make things "difficult."
"For me, as a Christian...I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right," Hunter told reporter Kevin Baxter. "It will be difficult and uncomfortable."
Soon after numerous media outlets reported on Hunter’s remarks, the baseball player took to Twitter to respond to the backlash.
"I’m very disappointed in Kevin Baxter’s article in which my quotes and feelings have been misrepresented," Hunter, 37, wrote. "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," he continued. "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."
Several athletes have proven themselves to be great allies for the LGBT community, especially the NFL’s Chris Kluew and Brendon Ayanbadejo, who have been extremely vocal in their support for gay marriage and have joined Athlete Ally, an organization that promotes equal rights for the LGBT community in sports. Additionally, Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns, Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets and Connor Barwin of the Houston Texans are all members of Athlete Ally.