Former minor league baseball pitcher Tyler Dunnington said he quit baseball because of anti-gay comments.
Tyler Dunnington — a Shelton High School product who graduated in 2010 — told Outsports.com in an email that he retired from baseball before spring training in 2015 because of derogatory comments made by coaches and teammates throughout his career. Dunnington, who is gay, was a 28th-round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014.
“I was also one of the unfortunate closeted gay athletes who experienced years of homophobia in the sport I loved,” Dunnington wrote in the email. “I was able to take most of it with a grain of salt but towards the end of my career I could tell it was affecting my relationships with people, my performance, and my overall happiness.
“I experienced both coaches and players make remarks on killing gay people during my time in baseball, and each comment felt like a knife to my heart. I was miserable in a sport that used to give me life, and ultimately I decided I needed to hang up my cleats for my own sanity.”
Dunnington, 24, played baseball at Shelton — with brothers Jacob and Jordan — before playing at Skagit Valley College, College of Southern Idaho and Colorado Mesa College. He played for Cardinals minor league affiliates in the Gulf Coast League and New York-Pennsylvania League during the 2014 season.
“He is in the top one percent of all of the student athletes I’ve worked with in my career,” Shelton athletic director Jim Judson said. “I put him that high.”
ESPN.com reported Wednesday that the Cardinals are taking Dunnington’s allegations “very seriously.”
“This is very disappointing and our hope is that every player, staff member and employee feels that they are treated equally and fairly,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. "Given the nature of these allegations, I will certainly look into this further.”