Former minor league baseball player Tyler Dunnington stated that he quit playing the sport due to derogatory comments made by teammates and coaches. After graduating from Shelton High School in 2010, Dunnington was drafted in 2014 by the St. Louis Cardinals. However, after hearing a barrage of comments about gays, the former pitcher walked away.

Just prior to spring training last year, Dunnington made a huge decision to end his professional baseball career after hearing teammates and coaches slam gays. Although Dunnington was a 28th round draft pick with an impressive career ahead of him, as a gay man he felt he had no choice but to take a stand.

Tyler DunningtonDunnington explained how he was a closeted gay athlete who for many years, experienced homophobia within the very sport that he loved most. In an email, he wrote that while he took most of the comments “with a grain of salt”, toward the end of his career he noticed that hiding his lifestyle was having a profound impact on his baseball performance, as well as relationships and overall happiness.

He went on to say that some of the overheard comments from the very people on his team, including coaches, involved the killing of gays. With each comment, Dunnington felt as if someone were sticking a knife into his heart. Eventually, the very sport that gave him life now made him miserable. It was then that he knew his only recourse was to quit.

Just 24 years of age, Dunnington, along with his brothers Jordan and Jacob, played baseball at Shelton High School. From there, Dunnington went on to play at Skagit Valley College, Colorado Mesa College, and College of Southern Idaho. Then in 2014, he played in the Gulf Coast League, one of the minor league affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as the New York-Pennsylvania League.

As imagined, the allegations and Dunnington’s drastic decision to leave the sport are being taken seriously by the St. Louis Cardinals. John Mozeliak, general manager with the Cardinals released a statement saying that the situation is extremely disappointing.

Mozeliak stated that the Cardinal’s hope that every player, employee, and staff member feels they are being treated fairly and equally. He added that considering the nature of the allegations made by Dunnington, the matter requires further investigation.