The acquisition of Daniel Murphy has made plenty of Cubs fans uncomfortable due to his previous comments on the LGBT community. Murphy has previously stated that he “disagreed” with the gay “lifestyle” after meeting with MLB Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean — who came out as gay in 1999 following the conclusion of his pro baseball career.
Now Laura Ricketts, an openly gay Cubs co-owner, is coming to the defense of her team’s decision to trade for Murphy.
In a series of tweets posted on Sunday morning, Ricketts says that she was consulted by the team prior to the acquisition and signed off on going after Murphy.
Laura Ricketts weighs in on Murphy trade
Ricketts’ tweets come just days after Murphy’s previous comments were brought up during his introductory press conference with Chicago. Asked if he had a message for gay Cubs fans, Murphy didn’t do much to assuage concerns over his addition to the clubhouse.
“Oh dear,” Murphy said. “I would hope that you would root for the Cubs.”
In more recent years, the Cubs have fostered a strong relationship with the Chicago LGBT community, which made the trade for Murphy all the more uncomfortable for many. Some fans and media have denounced his arrival, however many more were waiting on Laura Ricketts to offer her take.
And while Ricketts can’t speak for all Cubs fans, her voice is important one as one of the only openly gay pro-sports owners in North America.
Cubs host ‘Out At Wrigley’ game Sunday
The timing of Ricketts’ comments coincide with the 18th annual ‘Out At Wrigley’ game at Wrigley Field. The event bills itself as the “Original MLB Gay Day” and draws thousands of fans each year.
Down on the field, Murphy will be batting leadoff as Chicago hosts the Cincinnati Reds.
Through their Facebook page, Out At Wrigley has commented twice on the Murphy trade while still encouraging Cubs fans to come out to the ballpark.
“Please bring all your rainbow flags and rainbow anything you have to the game Sunday to show the newly acquired Cubs player that the Cubs have a huge LGBT fan base and we don’t care if he disagrees with the “gay lifestyle’.” The group wrote shortly after the Cubs acquired Murphy.
On Friday, the group posted again to clarify their positions on both Murphy and the Cubs organization:
“While we appreciate his recognition of previous homophobic statements, Murphy has not done enough in the past three years to rectify his offensive remarks. Additionally, working with the Ricketts family these past nine years, we know they greatly value their LGBT fans and wouldn’t intentionally offend a community they respect and cherish.”
So far since joining the Cubs, Murphy is 7-for-19 at the plate with two home runs and four RBI in four games.
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