PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy will no longer address his religious beliefs and will stick to baseball, a team spokesman said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, MLB ambassador for inclusion Billy Bean addressed Mets players after general manager Sandy Alderson invited him. Murphy subsequently told media that day that while he would embrace Bean as a teammate, he does not approve of his homosexuality. Bean concealed his sexual orientation during his playing career and later said that he was gay.
"I disagree with his lifestyle," Murphy told NJ.com on Tuesday. "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn't mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him. I don't think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them, but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent."
Bean responded to Murphy's comments, writing Wednesday in a story for MLB.com that he has "tremendous admiration and respect for Daniel Murphy as a family man," referencing the second baseman's decision to miss Opening Day last year for his son's birth, a decision that made him the target of criticism by the New York media.
Bean wrote that expecting his message of inclusion to be supported by everyone "is simply not realistic."
"If you asked anyone who has competed in high-level men's professional sports, I believe they would agree with me. This doesn't change the way I go about my business, or my belief in what I am doing, but it's reality," he wrote.
Murphy added to the newspaper: "Maybe, as a Christian ... we haven't been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. We love the people. We disagree [with] the lifestyle. That's the way I would describe it for me.
"It's the same way that there are aspects of my life that I'm trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There's a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn't mean I'm just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That's not love. That's not love at all."
Asked early Tuesday about how his message is received by players who object on religious grounds, Bean said: "What's important is that if we have one or two people on a team that we might have exposed them to something they hadn't thought about before. I'm not here to change anybody or tell them that they're wrong. This is our country. We're allowed to be who and what we want.
"But I think the important thing is understanding the big picture -- that if you are a player on the Mets or in a big league uniform, there's a huge responsibility that goes with that. And I think they can understand that regardless of what their personal opinion is of me. I can't be everybody's best friend."
The Mets have dealt with players' religious beliefs conflicting with the viewpoint of a portion of their fan base before. In 2012, right-hander Jeremy Hefner tweeted his support for the chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A's stance against gay marriage.