Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dale Scott Comes Out as Gay After Feature Article

Veteran MLB Umpire Dale Scott has publicly come out as gay, marrying his 28-year partner Michael Rausch last November. Those who knew Scott well knew Rausch—the pair traveled to Australia for the 2014 Opening Series—and Scott informally came out and introduced the officiating community to Rausch in Referee magazine's October feature, "Redemption."

Dale Scott & Dan Iassogna listen in on a
Replay Review during the 2014 season.
On December 2, SB*Nation's Outsports division, which covers LGBT issues in athletics, formally publicized Scott's relationships and marriage, having seen the Referee article, subsequently reaching out to Scott and the Referee editorial staff.

Scott knew what his profile in Referee meant: "Obviously, when I sent that picture to [Referee magazine editor] Jeff [Stern], I knew exactly what it meant. In a small way this was opening that door in a publication that wasn't going to be circulated nationwide. It could be picked up, but it's not Time magazine." And it almost was. Sensitive to former umpire Dave Pallone's own story—in which he was publicly outed by the New York Post in 1988 and fired by baseball shortly thereafter (in his book, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, Pallone wrote that baseball forced him out because he was gay)—the UEFL opted not to run the story at that time: Outsports is the more appropriate venue, as is the article's timing.

When Outsports first contacted Scott in September, it was a similar tale: Worried it would cause a distraction from MLB's postseason—and Scott's own assignment to the Dodgers-Cardinals National League Division Series—Outsports and Scott agreed to defer the article to after the postseason.

Said Scott, "I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else and that's the way it should be...If this story or the Referee picture motivates somebody somewhere who's an amateur umpire or is trying to go to umpire school and is trying to get a job in the Major Leagues but maybe has doubts because of their sexuality and sees this and it gives them some confidence, that's great."

Scott is the first active MLB umpire to publicly and voluntarily say he is gay, the first active male official in the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB. The NBA's Violet Palmer was the first active official to declare. She married girlfriend Tanya Stine in the summer of 2014.

Update: Scott's story has been picked up nationally by major news outlets ESPN, Fox Sports, Deadspin, Yahoo!, Bleacher Report, Instinct Magazine, MSN, and locally by many more; "Dale Scott" is trending on Twitter and Facebook.


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