Sports Briefs: Major League Baseball umpire comes out

  • by Roger Brigham
  • Wednesday December 3, 2014
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Dale Scott very quietly came out as gay in the October issue of Umpire magazine when he allowed the publishers to use a photo of him with his longtime companion and now husband, Michael Rausch. This makes him the first active male official in any of the four major professional team sports to be out publicly.

In a follow-up interview with Outsports, Scott said, "My thought process was that there's a story about my career and how I got started in umpiring and they're talking to people I have known since junior high and it didn't seem right to have a whole story and pictures without a picture of Mike and I, someone who's been with me through this entire process. We met the October after my first year in the big leagues. Obviously, when I sent that picture, I knew exactly what it meant. In a small way, this was opening that door in a publication that wasn't going to be circulated nationwide. It could be picked up, but it's not Time magazine. I made that decision to go ahead and do it because I felt it was the right thing to do. I realized that it could open a Pandora's box, but this is not a surprise to Major League Baseball, the people I work for. It's not a surprise to the umpire staff. Until Mike and I got married last November, he was my same-sex domestic partner and had his own MLB ID and was on my insurance policy."

Next season will be Scott's 30th in MLB.


Pride House planned for Pan Am Games

A Pride House is planned for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, marking the first time such a venue has been offered at the event. Pride Houses have been offered at recent Olympic Games but were not allowed at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"We don't want to speak about what's happening at other games �" it's not our place �" but in Toronto and this region it's an important initiative to showcase diversity," Pan Am spokesman Teddy Katz said. "We're trying to make sure that people in all communities can feel a part of the games."

Pride House organizers said their efforts will focus on four areas, including a community hub that will be a centralized space for events, workshops, media interviews, and watching the games. They also plan to offer a slate of outdoor concerts, cultural programs, and participatory sports.


Canada adds inclusion to its Olympic program

The Canadian Olympic Committee this week announced a new program, #OneTeam Athlete Ambassador, to reach out with educational and awareness programs in Canadian schools. The Olympic committee will partner with Canadian LGBT-rights group Egale and You Can Play to work with Olympians to raise awareness of LGBT issues.

"The older I've gotten the more I realize that it isn't up to the gay athletes to come out," said Canadian Olympic medalist Mark Tewksbury, 46. "It's up to the organizations to create the environment where people feel safe to be themselves."


NFL bully report

An arbitrator has reinstated former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who had been on an indefinite suspension after punching out his then-fiance (and now wife) Janay Rice last February in an Atlantic City casino elevator. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported this week that four teams were interested in signing Rice, apparently of the belief that the "distraction" of a convicted domestic abuser coming off his worst pro season would be less than the distraction of having a gay defensive standout on board.

The arbitrator overturned Rice's suspension based on the way the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell had bungled their handling of the case, initially suspending Rice just two games, then handing down the stiffer penalty as public outcry mounted and damning video of the incident surfaced. The NFL had said that initially it had been led to believe Rice had struck his fiance with an open hand slap, but reports indicate that within hours of the incident, graphic details of the video showing Rice's knocking out the woman with his closed fist were widely being discussed among NFL security personnel.

With so many teams publicly espousing "zero tolerance" for domestic abuse, it will be curious to see how and if any team that does sign Rice reconciles its decision with that stance.

In other news, former Miami offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who was at the center of a bullying scandal a year ago, remains without a team. The Dolphins released Incognito after verbal abuse by him and a few teammates caused fellow lineman Jonathan Martin to leave the team because of emotional stress from the constant bullying of being called the n-word and a faggot. Many players defended Incognito's behavior as being part of the routine hazing culture of pro football, and many experts predicted that Incognito would be picked up by a new club long before Martin. Martin, of course, signed with the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason and has been starting; Incognito, meanwhile, had a tryout with the Denver Broncos in November but remains unsigned.

The appeal of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's indefinite suspension was heard by the NFL on Tuesday, December 2. Peterson was suspended without pay after being convicted in Texas of beating his 4-year-old son with a stick.