By: Janissa Delzo
Billy Bean took a leap of faith nearly two decades ago, and now he’s speaking out to help others. Bean came out as gay in 1999 and has since become a role model for many athletes.
He was appointed Major League Baseball’s first “Ambassador for Inclusion,” last July. Bean has been traveling from club to club to discuss his journey.
“I’m only going to see the clubs that invite me. It’s not mandated by the office of the commissioner. We want each club to feel a priority for it,” Bean tells WEBN.
Bean hopes to reach out to communities, but he also hopes to gain a sense of closure.
“I want every player to know that I respect however they feel, because I felt that way most of my life. It took me thirty-four years to accept the way I was born,” Bean says.
Bean was an outfielder for a number of teams during his eight-year career, including the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and the Kintetsu Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball. Originally, Bean didn’t look for a job in baseball because he wasn’t sure if he’d be welcomed.
“I can’t be everybody’s best friend, but I can be an ambassador of goodwill to our sport and I’ve been entrusted with a huge responsibility,” Bean says.
Since being appointed Ambassador for Inclusion, fourteen teams have invited Bean to speak at their club.