Kevin McClatchy, former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, came out as gay back in September and has been inspired by NBA player Jason Collins to open up about his fear of coming out and the progress he hopes to continue see in professional sports when it comes to acceptance. As reported by CBS Sports on Monday, McClatchy opened up in an interview about living a double life and the fear he suffered in how others would treat him.
The 50-year-old McClatchy owned the Pirates from 1996-2007 feared rumors about his sexuality would cause him to lose the team. It was during a time where he felt the atmosphere in Major League Baseball wasn’t one of acceptance for gay athletes or from those in the front office, so he lived with a secret that ultimately weighed him down.
“It scared me to death that the story would get out, and I did live in fear. It’s awful and it wears you down, and you’re always worried about something happening, or somebody saying something. It’s frightening really. You go to a dark place, and I had been there a few times. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.”
McClatchy feels now that Collins has come out, dialogue and education in professional sports will progress. In order for sports to be ready for more gay players there needs to be more educational focus starting at the top, mainly in Major League Baseball.
“I think it should happen in the commissioner’s office on down. Talking to their coaches, major league coaches, minor league, college coaches, high school coaches, that if there’s a gay kid, treat him like everyone else…Can I do both, be a gay person and play sports, and for most people, at least when I was growing up it was terrifying. And if it helps a kid, the teen suicide rate among gay kids is four times as high as regular kids, and I think they have enough pressure on them.”
McClatchy, although he lived most of his life in fear of people finding out he was gay, is very happy that he decided to come out and never will hide who he is again. He feels the climate of today’s society is making it easier for athletes to come out, especially now since there will be other players, gay and straight, there for support