On Tuesday, August 9, pro baseball player Solomon Bates came out as gay in a powerful Instagram post, sharing that he wants to “open up doors” for other queer athletes. He is now the second Minor League baseball player to be out publicly, with David Denson becoming the first in 2015.
The 25-year-old athlete took to Instagram to reveal to his followers that he is no longer playing for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, part of the San Francisco Giants system, and to thank his former team for the time he had with them. He then also took the opportunity to come out to all his fans and shared a powerful message.
“Being gay in this sport, you don’t know what comes at you!” he wrote. “I thank the Giants for giving me the opportunity to be myself and go out there and play the game that I love the most. I’m still in shock on what just happened. But I’m not giving up on what I want to do.”
He also reassured his fans, saying: “I’m still going to open up doors for gay athletes like me. Still will strive to be one of the greatest to do it. I ended on a high note from getting hurt to going out there and pitching my ass off. Baseball I’m not done with you. I’m leaving on my terms and my terms only.”
Solomon Bates then concluded his post, saying: “Gay men can play a manly sport if you give us a chance to. Thank you, Giants, you guys made a new fan. But gave me a chip to keep going. I love all the new friends that I’ve made. I’m not going to cry. I’m going to keep pushing.”
Messages like the one shared by Bates are still so important in the male sports field, given that it is still an environment infused with homophobia that too often forces LGBTQ+ athletes to quit or to remain closeted while playing.
After his Instagram post, Bates revealed that he had been out to his teammates since 2019 in an interview with OutSports. The athlete also opened up about dropping hints about his sexual orientation on social media, like when he included a rainbow flag emoji in an Instagram post.
“I hadn’t really said it because I want to be seen as how I handle things professionally. I want people to see my stats and let people know that gay men can play baseball. I was on the verge of doing that, my shot just ended up short.” he said.
After his departure from the San Francisco Giants system, Bates is now looking for a new team to join. “Life is good right now. I’m confident I’ll be with a new team in the next few days.” he concluded.
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