CHICAGO — The Cubs are debuting a player who’s spoken out against gay people just days before the LGBTQ-friendly Out at Wrigley event.
Daniel Murphy, who was traded to the Cubs from the Nationals this week, will make his first appearance for the Cubs on Wednesday night. The debut comes just days before Sunday’s Out at Wrigley, a fan-organized event to celebrate the team’s gay supporters, and the team has been criticized online for the move.
Murphy’s anti-gay comments came in spring 2015, when Billy Bean, the MLB’s ambassador of inclusion, visited the Mets and spoke with players. Bean is openly gay, and Murphy told reporters he “disagree[s] with the fact that Billy is a homosexual.”
“I disagree with his lifestyle,” Murphy said, according to CBS Sports. “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. Getting to know him.
“That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent.”
At the time, Bean responded by saying Murphy was “respectful of me” but said he wanted to “work harder and be a better example that someday might allow [Murphy] to view things from my perspective … .”
The exchange generated controversy, and Cubs fans criticized the team when it announced it had acquired Murphy this week.
“I just don’t like the man at all,” said Bill Gubrud, who created Out at Wrigley — then called Gay Day — in 2001. “Honestly, when someone says they don’t like the gay lifestyle, what they’re saying is, ‘I think it’s gross when two guys are having sex together.’ And that’s exactly what Daniel Murphy meant.
“There weren’t many openly gay sports fans [during the first Gay Day in 2001] because of the fear of retribution, of going to a ballpark and all that … . Stupid comments like that from Daniel Murphy, there’s no place in society for anything like that.”
There was even more criticism on Wednesday afternoon after comic Rhea Butcher took to Twitter to point out Murphy would make his debut for the team around the same time as Out at Wrigley.
“As a queer woman and lifelong Cubs fan, this hurts a whole bunch to watch,” one person tweeted.
In a post on Facebook, Out at Wrigley urged fans to bring rainbow gear to Sunday’s game to show Murphy “we don’t care if he disagrees with the ‘gay lifestyle.'”
The Cubs game starts 6:10 p.m. Wednesday at Detroit. The Out at Wrigley game begins 1:20 p.m. Sunday at Wrigley Field.
A Cubs spokesman did not immediately return requests for comment.