New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy told reporters Tuesday he'd be fine with having a gay teammate even though he disagrees "with the lifestyle."
Murphy made his comments after former major league outfielder Billy Bean, who is gay, visited and spoke to the team at its spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson invited Bean to speak to the players about acceptance among teammates.
Murphy told the New York Daily News he was glad Bean shared his story about his clubhouse experiences during his playing career and that he would get along fine with a teammate who was gay.
However, Murphy said he believes that being gay is a lifestyle choice.
"I completely understand why someone who believes it is not a choice, that you're born with it, would take issue with my beliefs, that it is a lifestyle," he told the newspaper. "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn't mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him. I don't think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect."
Murphy explained his views further to NJ.com:
"Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven't been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality," Murphy said. "We love the people. We disagree with the lifestyle. That's the way I would describe it for me. It's the same way that there are aspects of my life that I'm trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There's a great deal of many things, like my pride."
A Mets spokesman said Wednesday that Murphy would no longer speak about the issue.
Bean was named an "Ambassador for Inclusion" by former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig last year. He played six seasons in the 1980s and '90s, including 51 games for the Dodgers in 1989. Bean, who played at Loyola Marymount and was born in Santa Ana, retired from baseball in 1995.
Bean told the New York Daily News that his talk with the Mets wasn't geared toward changing anyone's stance on homosexuality.