NEW YORK (CHRISTIAN EXAMINER)—As New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy wrapped up an epic National League Championship Series last week, criticism was already brewing in the New York media and social media about comments he made in March about homosexuality.
Murphy's controversial comments came after Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson asked retired Major League Baseball (MLB) player Billy Bean, the second MLB player to a come out as gay and baseball's "inclusion ambassador," to spend time with the team.
"I disagree with his lifestyle," said Murphy, according to www.nj.com. "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn't mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him. I don't think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them, but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent."
Debated heavily back in March when they were first made, the comments became a hot topic once again after Murphy, a born-again Christian, became the first MLB player in history to hit homeruns in six consecutive postseason games. The homeruns helped lead the Mets to an NLCS sweep of the Chicago Cubs and to the team's first trip to the World Series since 2000. Murphy's historic playoff run came as a surprise in the baseball world because the 30-year old had never been known as a power hitter. The 2014 MLB All-Star had hit only 62 regular-season homeruns prior to this year's playoffs.
Twitter posts began appearing throughout Murphy's historic run as liberal sports fans shared their disappointment that a baseball player with conservative Christian beliefs about sexuality was being hailed as a sports hero. Murphy was often called a bigot and, at times, the tweets turned both caustic and even pornographic.
A story in the New York Daily News on Friday, two days after the Mets secured their World Series trip, seemed to summarize the anti-Murphy rhetoric. In the article Joe Dziemianowicz, a self-proclaimed gay Mets fan wrote, "So what's a gay Mets fan to do? For me, it's hate the homophobia, love the hometeam. And marvel at all the superfans painting the town with bright orange-and-blue pride."
Yet not all the opinions concerning Murphy have been negative during the past week. Pundits have openly expressed appreciation for how the Jacksonville, Fla., native has deferred to teammates and demonstrated consistent humility.
World magazine editor Marvin Olasky noted in a recent article that, "Never before to my knowledge, in baseball's long history, has a player so pilloried in March set an extraordinary all-time record in October."
Olasky also commented upon Murphy's positive demeanor and humility when accepting the NLCS Most Valuable Player award.
Roman Catholic writer Michael Duffy also praised Murphy's attitude throughout the recent weeks, pointing specifically comments where the young baseball player said he was "playing for Christ's glory" and trying hard to keep his "obsession with hitting" from pushing aside his faith.
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Evangelicals have also been quick to remind Murphy's critics of the rest of his words the day Billy Bean visited the Mets in March. Though expressing his firm belief that he didn't "agree with his lifestyle," Murphy also complimented Major League Baseball on its "forward thinking" inclusion efforts. He also told reporters that his differences with Bean on the issue of homosexuality didn't mean that he wanted to shut the door on a relationship with him. He also expressed willingness to invest in a relationship with a future gay teammate.
Bean, himself, later called Murphy brave for honestly sharing his feelings, saying that Murphy "spoke his truth." He noted that Murphy was respectful of him during their meeting.
Game one of the World Series between Murphy's New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals will be in Kansas City, Mo., at 8:07 p.m. EST.