David Denson, premier coming-out de l'histoire du baseball professionnel

David Denson, premier coming-out de l'histoire du baseball professionnel

>> Baseball Player David Denson Makes History

Une première dans l'histoire du baseball professionnel : David Denson, joueur des Brewers de Milwaukee, a révélé publiquement son homosexualité ce samedi dans le quotidien local Journal Sentinel. Personne n'avait osé franchir ce cap. Agé de 20 ans, il avait déjà dévoilé son orientation sexuelle à sa famille au printemps dernier.

David Denson appréhendait de l'annoncer à ses coéquipiers. « Je tremblais et pleurais, j'étais très effrayé, je ne savais pas s'ils allaient me considérer différemment », explique-t-il dans les colonnes du quotidien américain. Mais le jeune joueur a vite été rassuré par ses coéquipiers: « De discuter de ce sujet avec mes coéquipiers m'a donné la confiance dont j'avais besoin », assure-t-il. Avant d'ajouter: « Ils m'ont dit: Tu es toujours notre coéquipier, notre frère. Ton orientation n'a rien à voir avec tes habiletés de joueur. Tu es un joueur de baseball comme un autre, et nous allons te traiter comme l'un des nôtres. »

Des mots qui ont fait du bien à David Denson, soulagé d'être accepté tel qu'il est. « Cela a été un énorme soulagement pour moi. (...) J'ai trouvé ça vraiment bien de savoir que mes coéquipiers m'apprécient pour ce que je suis, et non pour mon orientation ».

Une belle réaction de l'équipe de David Denson qui rejoint celle de Billy Beane, ancien joueur de baseball et premier ambassadeur pour les joueurs homosexuels: « Tout joueur qui se trouve être homosexuel et est un professionnel et a gardé ce secret, ils veulent juste être jugés pour leur habileté au baseball ou au football ou au basket-ball. David ne jouerait pas au baseball professionnel s'il n'était pas un excellent joueur de baseball. »

>> All it took was the "F" word. David Denson heard the derogatory word for a gay man from one of his teammates. 

A first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers' rookie affiliate in Helena, Mont., 20-year-old Denson — who is African-American and Hispanic — stood up for himself. "Be careful what you say. You never know," Denson replied with a smile, according to an interview in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Soon after he came out to members of the team and, to his surprise, they showed him their support. As he tells the newspaper: 

"Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them. They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don't treat you any different. We've got your back.'

"That was a giant relief for me. I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality."

He later consulted with Billy Bean, who was named Major League Baseball's first Ambassador for Inclusion last year, who encouraged him to come out publicly. Denson says he and Bean have "become like brothers."

Denson becomes the first active player affiliated with a Major League organization to come out publicly and comes a few months after independent league pitcher Sean Conroy of the Sonoma Stompers came out as gay. 

Bean, who came out after retiring from MLB and says he regretted not coming out while he was still playing baseball, told the Journal Sentinel: 

"[David] is definitely cognizant of how it might affect his team. I just wanted to make sure his parents were part of the conversation. David has two loving parents who obviously are very concerned. They're worried about how this will affect him.

"Any player who happens to be gay and is a professional and has kept that secret, they just want to be judged for their baseball or football or basketball ability. David would not be playing professional baseball if he wasn't an excellent baseball player.

"The beauty of what could come from this is he can be an example that can help change that perception and change the stereotype that there would never be a gay person on a men's professional sports team. That was something I struggled with."

Denson first told his sister Celestine. She is also a professional dancer married to former Brewers farmhand Jose Sermo.

"She said, 'I've known since you were little,'" said Denson. "I said, 'How did you know?' She said, 'You're my little brother. I'm around you all the time.' "

Denson told the Journal Sentinel that he doesn't have any expectations of what might happen next.

"I'm hoping it will open the eyes of people in general that we're all people, we're human, we're brothers in the sport. We're all here trying to get to the big leagues. I'm excited to see where it goes from here, now that I don't have that wall holding me back anymore."