Major League Baseball announced today that it will implement rules protecting openly gay players, according to Sports Illustrated. The rule will strengthen an existing ban on sexual harassment, as well as create a “workplace code of conduct” for major and minor league organizations. The League also agreed to implement new training opportunities for team officials and create a centralized complaint system for reporting incidents involving harassment and discrimination.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman helped draft the rules with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the players’ union.
In November 2011, MLB and the players’ union added sexual discrimination language into their collective bargaining agreement. Earlier this year, Schneiderman announced an agreement with the National Football League on new efforts to promote inclusion and protect players from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“By making a clear stand against discrimination in the workplace, our national pastime is showing national leadership in the fight to promote equal justice for all. I am committed to using every tool at my disposal to ensure equal protection under the law for all employees no matter where they work,” Schneiderman said at a press conference at the Javits Center. The 2013 MLB All-Star game will be played tonight at Citi Field in Queens.
Will the added protection against sexual-orientation harassment encourage gay major league players to come out? No active MLB players are openly gay, but that may change as younger players—who may be more comfortable with the idea of gay teammates—move up to the big leagues.