KANSAS CITY -- A small sampling of players in the Royals' clubhouse on Monday brought a consensus that a gay player in baseball would be accepted within the sport. Opinions were sought after NBA player Jason Collins announced that he was gay in a Sports Illustrated story.
"If it makes him happy, I'll support him," said pitcher Aaron Crow, the Royals' player representative. "It doesn't affect me either way. If that's what he wants to do, it's cool."
"What he does in his personal life is fine. I think we should all respect that," pitcher Greg Holland said. "He's a grown man and he can make his own choices. I know it's a tough decision to come out openly -- it takes a lot of courage."
Would a gay player be accepted in baseball?
"It wouldn't bother me at all. I can't speak for everybody," Crow said, "but it doesn't bother me whatsoever."
"I don't know if it'd be across the board but I think the majority of people would respect their own personal space and what they want to do with their life and their free time," Holland said.
"I absolutely think he'd be accepted," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "I think it'd be a tough go. That's just seems to be society's thing, especially in sports. It definitely would be interesting, for sure. But he'd definitely be accepted. I think if it were someone on our team, we'd treat him the same."
Designated hitter Billy Butler said: "I'd hope that people would be professional and that they would realize that he made his own decision and that he's there to win a ballgame each day, and that has nothing to do with what type of person he is. I would handle it like he's still like my brother."
Infielder Elliot Johnson saluted Collins' courage in making the announcement.
"For him to be in that situation and you think about the entire culture of macho men and the type of things that are created, I'm sure it's not an easy thing at all. For me personally, I don't have a problem with it and if that helps him sleep better at night, so be it," Johnson said and added:
"I applaud Jason for what he did and if it happens in baseball -- statistically there have probably been plenty already and there probably is right now. If they want to do it, that's fine with me and if they don't want to do it, that's fine with me, too. Whatever they choose to do, It's their life and their career."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.