Massachusetts Institute of Technology baseball player Sean Karson recently revealed that he is gay, and he says he has received a positive reaction from his teammates.
Karson is a junior third baseman who batted .350 for the team last season. A co-captain and two-year starter, Karson asked his coach if he could address his teammates during a recent indoor practice, the Boston Herald reports. That’s when he revealed to his teammates in a tearful speech that he is gay. He told the newspaper that the reaction was positive.
“They came up and gave me high fives and said they’d have my back and everything,” he told the Herald. “It was so supportive, it was ridiculous.”
Karson says he didn’t get a warm reaction from all his teammates at first, but the ones who didn’t immediately approach him later sent him emails to say how much they respected him.
Karson, who is a chemical engineering major and founder of a technology startup called Sponge Systems, told the Herald that coming out has been an emotionally freeing experience.
“I have never been myself up until very recently,” he told the Herald. “Everything’s been just sort of cold and calculated. I’ve been in this fortress, I guess, and haven’t let my emotions out at al
“I worried that I had no emotions, that I didn’t feel much about anything. It was really weird.”
Karson was inspired to come out by former University of Southern Maine baseball player James Nutter, who recently came out. Outsports.com says Karson spent Super Bowl weekend at the Facebook headquarters in California as part of a conference for LGBT tech students, which may have played a role in his decision to come out. Karson also believes that a professional athlete is going to come out in the near future; he said that it would happen in the next month. He thinks things are changing in the sports world.
“But sports are never going to be a scary place for LGBT people again," he told the Herald. "The locker room is going to be a safe space everywhere.”
Though Karson has had a positive experience so far, he only needs to refer back to the comments of San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver to know that some athletes will have a problem with gay teammates. Regardless, Karson’s announcement is a positive step in athletics.