Bryan Ruby, who plays for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Oregon, made history Thursday as he publicly came out as gay —the first active professional baseball player to do so.
Ruby, 25, is an infielder in the Mavericks Independent Baseball League. He said in an interview that he hopes he can help others feel confident to be themselves, especially in sports, CBS Sports reported.
I kept thinking about the little 14-year-old me, who was scared because I’m a baseball player who loved country music,” said Ruby. “Those are worlds where people like me are told they can’t belong. I’m not a hot-shot prospect. But today, you can’t find a single active baseball player who is out publicly. I want to help create a world where future generations of baseball players don’t have to sacrifice authenticity or who they really are to play the game they love.”
Ruby is not only a pro baseball player; he is also a Nashville-based country songwriter with two songs on the charts, according to Pink News.
Ruby’s public announcement comes after he privately told family and close friends four years ago, according to CBS Sports. He told his teammates this summer.
“As a country music songwriter, at first I thought being gay was a huge weakness,” Ruby said. “There’s this genre about drinking beer and hooking up with girls in the back of the truck. Then I realized that I can bring something different to the table. Love songs don’t need to be gay or straight. And I’ve been able to write my best songs by being authentic.”
In June, defensive end Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders announced he is gay, making him the first active NFL player to do so. Luke Prokop also became the first player under an NHL contract to come out publicly as gay.