Dale Scott comes out

I am very proud to be associated with Referee Magazine today.  I always am proud of my connection (which consists of writing a feature or three every summer), but especially today.

Two months ago, I read this feature on Dale Scott in the magazine.  It was a pretty typical feature: got to know some of the struggles he went through, particularly with some struggles at the MLB level in the late 1980s (he almost got tossed from the league). And there were some photographs in there as well.  One was of him and his “long-time partner” as they traveled to Australia together for last year’s season-opening games.  I looked at it and went “Huh.  Dale Scott’s gay.”  I think I briefly wondered why I hadn’t known that before, given my greater-than-usual knowledge of umpiring and officials. But then I forgot all about it.

Today, outsports.com posted an article. Turns out that photo was Dale Scott coming out publicly for the first time.  And the story of Scott’s sexuality was in Time magazine today, as well as near the top of the MLB headlines on espn.com.  He’s the first male official of a major American sport to come out (NBA official Violet Palmer did so this past July).  And it’s all over the news.

What I liked about what Referee did was that it did absolutely nothing other than post a photo.  The fact that Scott is gay was about the 20th most interesting part of the article and of him.  I barely remembered it.  Referee just put it in there as it would have put in a shot of any feature subject and his/her family.  And nobody (except for us lucky 45,000 or so who subscribe to Referee) even noted it.  Scott said he didn’t get any comments on the photo. No letters to the editor appeared in any of the issues I have received since.

And now, suddenly, today, this is big news.

I liked it better the way Referee handled it…as not really news at all, just a fact about an umpire.

By the way: way to go to his fellow umpires, who, according to the outsports.com interview, have been universally accepting and supportive, and to MLB itself, who has had Scott’s partner on his health insurance for four years.  Cool stuff, and it won’t be long before similar announcements are no longer news.

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About Paul Hamann
I am a basketball referee in Washington State, working mostly high school games.

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