MLB commish hires Billy Bean to support gay athletes - KMSP-TV

MLB commish hires Billy Bean to support gay athletes

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced on the day of the All-Star Game the hiring of former MLB athlete Billy Bean to help the league become more inclusive of gay players.

Bean says his role will in part provide gay players in the MLB someone to turn to for support and advice. Bean came out as gay in 1999 after a career in the league from 1986 through 1995, where was an outfielder and left-handed hitter with the Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

He's only the second player in the league who has ever revealed his homosexuality -- Glenn Burke didn't publicly come out until after his 3-year career was over, but he did tell his teammates and team owners. By 1978, Burke has famously said everybody knew, and he's sure they didn't care.

Bean's hiring follows two other professional sports to make headlines regarding the inclusion and acceptance of gay athletes -- the NBA's Jason Collins, a center for the Brooklyn Nets, was the first publicly gay athlete to play in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues after coming out at the end of the 2012-2013 season.

Michael Sam is an NFL defensive end selected 249th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, and if he does end up making the team, he will become the first active NFL player to publicly announce he's gay before the draft.

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