College Baseball Player Matt Kaplon Comes Out As Gay
The sports world has had a rainbow banner year so far in 2014. The groundbreaking smashing of closet doors and other historic barriers continued over the weekend when Matt Kaplon, a starting catcher for Drew University's Rangers, came out as gay to his teammates. Kaplon confided in head coach Brian Herschberg last week before his big announcement on Sunday.
"He's as close to a family member as anyone I've ever coached," Hirschberg told Outsports. "He's like a younger brother to me. When Matt shared his story with me, I respected him more, if that's even possible."
As for the big revelation, apparently the entire team welcomed the news with open arms.
"He's the same exact Matt as he's ever been," teammate Anthony Feltre said. "It's one of the best things he's ever done because it's made us closer friends. It doesn't change a thing. If anything, since he told me this really personal thing we've started hanging out more and talking about more serious things."
"Everyone tells me that college is supposed to be the best four years of my life," Kaplon said in his interview with OutSports." I've had a great time, but for three and a half of them, I've been hiding things and not being the real me. Building friendships and meeting people and with my teammates, they know part of me but I finally feel like I want them to know everything. I want to be me 100% and make sure they know I'm not hiding anything. I'm ready for that. I'm ready to start not having to hide."
Coach Hirschberg goes on to sum up the importance of athletes to come out as gay (despite one lobbyists silly attempt to keep players closeted).
"When you don't know there is a gay person around, you use faggot and gay because you're not putting a face to that word," Hirschberg added. "Everybody on our team is now going to have a heightened awareness in a very positive way. The 37 other teammates and three other coaches we have will now have to become a little bit better and caring in their choice of words.They'll have to become better people because now they know they may hurt somebody they care about."
Congratulations, Matt & the Drew University Rangers!