The unfair plight of Joey Votto


When, a few weeks ago, I implored a gay baseball player to come out of the closet, I meant that—on his own—someone should step forward.

Let me stress that—on his own.

Over the past few days, the sports blogs and fan boards have been humming with the “news” that Joey Votto, Cincinnati’s exceptional first baseman, is gay. That, the word goes, is why Votto was been on the disability list since May 30 with what the team has termed “stress-related issues.”


Just to make it clear: This isn’t how the whole coming-out-of-the-closet thing is supposed to go. If Votto is, indeed, gay (and I’m by no means saying he is), he should come out when he feels comfortable, or not at all. On a whole, I am soooo sick and tired of the is-he-or-isn’t-he-gay? bullsh$# we affix to celebrities. Why, oh why, are we so curious as to whether, oh, Adam Lambert is having sex with another man? How is that even remotely interesting?

Answer: Because life is often boring, and we always see excitement/scandal in the existence of others. We want Joey Votto to be gay, because then we can gossip and snicker and tell our friends—at least until the hot new rumor comes up.

A ballplayer should come out because it’s important for America to see that gay does not mean weird or freaky or diseased. But nobody needs to be forced out via rumor and innuendo. It’s not fair and it’s not righteous.

For the record, Votto says his stress was related to his father’s death—not sexuality.

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13 thoughts on “The unfair plight of Joey Votto”

  1. Uh… Votto explained why he was on the DL today and it made all that Gay Rumor Mongering pretty trite. You should keep up with the news.

  2. o yea and don’t you make a similar living as these same mongerers?? Dont be a hypocrite Jeff…that said I enjoy your work and this blog

  3. In all fairness, Votto’s father’s death doesn’t negate the possibility of his being gay.

    And a bunch of gossips on the Internet doesn’t mean he is.

    I’m still with you, Jeff. I hope someone comes out on their own someday. If Votto turns out to be gay, this was a lousy way to get him “out”.

  4. The only reason people were rumor-mongering about Joey being gay is because they didn’t know what else to think of his silence about “stress.” Perpetuating these rumors by using Joey’s photo and linking to said mongering isn’t doing the young man’s mental health any favors. You want to write about it, fine. But leave Joey out of it.

  5. Wait, who could possibly conclude that Joey Votto is gay because he suffers from “stress-related issues”?

    And who could conclude that Jeff is doing anything other than bashing the mongering here?

    Yes, there’s a hint of legitimacy added to the mongering by a link. But to think that Joey Votto is going to Google himself and see this post, then get hit with a stronger wave of depression or something is far-fetched.

    Me, personally, as a depression sufferer, I’m just glad he can be open about that. I wonder how many athletes with depression got written of as heavy drinkers in years past.

    I couldn’t care less, personally, about an athlete’s sexuality (or, really, anyone’s but the people I would like to date), and I understand that it’s an issue; I, too, would not mind seeing a few of the gay athletes (who exist, don’t kid yourselves) be able to own that aspect of their life during their career.

    But the point here is that Votto is depressed, and getting hit with shrapnel by people drawing stupid conclusions can’t help.

    Feel better, Joey. You earned a fan these last few weeks.

  6. u dont hear people call the real uglies like john kruk or mitch williams gay. they always claim the good looking like votto and piazza

  7. I am a dedicated Reds, but the first time that I had even heard such a rumor that Votto is gay was on this site. Perhaps you are not helping things by providing further coverage of this type of nonsense.

  8. rumors are like mud thrown on the wall : no matter what happens some stick : jeff : disappointed in your mud throwning and then trying to cover it up.

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