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'I'm not gay'

Piazza sets record straight about sexual orientation

Posted: Tuesday May 21, 2002 7:59 PM
Updated: Wednesday May 22, 2002 5:43 PM
  Mike Piazza Mike Piazza is aware of the rumors but doesn't know why they started. AP

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Responding to questions and rumors about his sexual orientation, Mike Piazza said Tuesday night that the major leagues are ready for gay players but he's not one of them.

"I'm not gay. I'm heterosexual," the New York Mets All-Star catcher said before playing the Philadelphia Phillies.

Piazza, who wanted to set the record straight about his sexual orientation, said he's aware of the rumors but doesn't know why they started.

"I can't control what people think. I date women," Piazza said.

He also agrees with Mets manager Bobby Valentine that players can accept an openly gay teammate.

"In this day and age, it's irrelevant," he said. "I don't think it would be a problem at all."

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Piazza's sexual orientation became an issue Monday when the New York Post suggested Valentine's remarks about gays in an upcoming magazine article could be a prelude to one of his players saying he is homosexual. The newspaper said that, "There is a persistent rumor around town that one Mets star who spends a lot of time with pretty models in clubs is actually gay and has started to think about declaring his sexual orientation."

In the June/July issue of Details, not yet on newsstands, Valentine said baseball is "probably ready for an openly gay player."

"The players are a diverse enough group now that I think they could handle it," he said.

Valentine reiterated his belief Tuesday night. "We are all big boys. We can handle it," he said.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa isn't so sure baseball is ready to accept gay players.

"If it was me, I'd probably wait until my career was over," Bowa said. "I'm sure it would depend on who the player was. If he hits .340, it probably would be easier than if he hits .220."

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