- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Major League Baseball has hired openly gay former outfielder Billy Bean as their new Ambassador For Inclusion, who will reportedly handle diversity issues and help end homophobia in in their ballclubs.

Mr. Bean will visit all 30 MLB teams within the next year and talk with players, coaches and executives about ways they can end homophobia in the league, Outsports reported.

“It’s ironic that I am returning to baseball to help erase the same reason I left,” said Mr. Bean, who left baseball in 1995 and came out as gay four years later.

“I was a young man, so confused and hurting inside trying to juggle a life of deception, and play in the major leagues while in the closet,” he told Outsports. “The greatest mistake of my life was my own inability to believe or trust that I could reach out to someone and ask for some help. It was a different time, and for many of us, it wasn’t easy. However, the hard work of so many brave people that came before me and during the past decade is paying dividends.”

The former ballplayer said he wants the MLB to be a model for inclusion.

“I want this generation’s coming out stories to be uplifting, happy, and inspire others to be who they are, and fulfill their true potential. At the end of the day, it’s all about giving everyone the best chance to succeed, to play free of burden,” he told Outsports.

“Moving forward, I will make it my mission that no other athlete ever has to make that same mistake I made in silence again,” he said. “They will know that they are embraced as a member of the MLB family, and there are resources for them, they just need to utilize them or reach out.”

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