Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is a leader on the mound and a leader in the clubhouse. The Tigers ace is also open to accepting a player for who he is no matter if that player is gay. On Tuesday, in an interview with CNN, Verlander says he knows there are gay players currently in the major leagues and doesn't mind.
Unlike teammate Torii Hunter, who expressed in the off season that he would be uncomfortable having an openly gay teammate, Verlander feels it is more important for teams to create a family atmosphere and be accepting of any player who came out as gay.
"I feel like that we have that atmosphere here. I don't think one of our players would be scared to come out. We've got 25 guys, it's a family and our goal is to win a World Series. What your sexual orientation is, I don't see how that affects the ultimate goal of our family."
This is a sentiment shared by former pitcher Curt Schilling who said that he has had gay teammates over the span of his 20-season major league career. Schilling said he believes a player should only be judged by how they perform on the field. He Tweeted:
"I've never understood this 'issue' with gay players? Who cares? I know I played with some, their sexual orientation never had much to...To do with how they hit with RISP, or pitched in late and close situations, why the hell would what they do in the bedroom ever matter?"
It seems the majority of the issue that straight players who are uncomfortable with having openly gay teammates is inside the locker room. Verlander said he couldn't see how anything would change but said the issue would be the comfort in the locker room.
"It's a tricky subject because you start getting into locker rooms, walking around nude, or whatever. As with any sport, a gay player probably would be hesitant to come out."
So far, no active major league baseball player has come out as gay.