Justin Verlander told CNN’s Carol Costello that “I don’t think one of our players would scared to come out,” when Costello asked Verlander about the prospect of having a gay teammate.
That question was part of an interview Costello conducted with Verlander for CNN’s “Newsroom”.
Verlander chatted with Costello about the prospect of receiving a new contract in excess of Felix Hernandez’s $200 million deal (Verlander certainly sounded like he wanted to top that), as well as his goals for the season. But between those two topics, Costello shifted the conversation to a more serious note, asking Verlander if he believed there were any gay players in baseball.
“I’m sure there are,” Verlander said. “I think, as with any sport, a gay player would probably be hesitant to come out. But sheer numbers say that there absolutely is.”
Costello then asked if, in the near future, a Major League Baseball player will announce that he’s gay during his playing career.
“I don’t see why not,” Verlander responded. “I think if you’re in the right situiation, and a team that’s a family atmosphere — I feel like we have that atmosphere here, I don’t think one of our players would be scared to come out.
“We’ve got 25 guys that are 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.”
Verlander’s comments run in contrast to those made by new Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter earlier this offseason. In an LA Times article, Hunter said, regarding a gay player in the locker room, “For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right. It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”
Hunter later said he was misquoted.
“It’s a tricky subject, because you start getting into locker rooms and walking around nude or whatever, and that would be more of a tricky subject than anything,” Verlander told Costello. “Your life decisions and sexual orientation, I don’t think that plays effect into what we’re trying to do as a team, so I don’t see what that would matter.”
So, Costello inquired, would Verlander be OK playing alongside a gay teammate?
“Absolutely,” he responded. “I wouldn’t mind it.”
You can watch the full interview below: