America's favorite pastime just got a little bit more all-encompassing.
As the New York Daily News is reporting, Major League Baseball is following in the footsteps of the National Football League by banning anti-gay discrimination as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.
A news release, issued jointly by the MLB and the Players' Association and quoted by the Daily News, reads as follows: “Non-discrimination based on sexual orientation were added to Article XV.” The language mirrors NFL's collective bargaining agreement, which was updated in September.
Gay baseball fans said they were pleased with the new development. "I think this is an important step forward for MLB," Brian Redar, a Chicago-based fan, told the Windy City Times. "Not only does it add needed protections for gay and lesbian employees, it sends a message to fans that discrimination in the sport will not be tolerated. It is inevitable that an active Major League Baseball player will come out soon and I think this will help make that process easier."
Billy Bean, who came out after playing for the Tigers, Dodgers and Padres from 1987-1995, said he was unsure how effective the development would be overall despite being "happy and thrilled" at the change. “I don’t know if legislation is going to provide the safety and security that players need,” Bean told the Daily News. “If you’re a marginal player, you fear losing your job at any moment. If you’re a young baseball player who just happens to be gay, you might feel safer keeping it to yourself.”
Several teams, including the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants, produced "It Gets Better" videos aimed at combating anti-gay youth bullying. However, some bloggers have also noted that since no current MLB players have identified themselves as being gay or bisexual, it's unclear who the discrimination amendment will protect -- at least for the time being. Pondered Queerty: "Which closeted player will be the first to step up to the plate?"
View the Chicago Cubs' "It Gets Better" video here: