Solomon Bates, a minor league pitcher in the San Francisco Giants system, declared himself gay in an Instagram post earlier this week.
This message came as part of the announcement that he was no longer with his team, the Richmond Flyers.
“Being gay in this sport, you don’t know what’s coming at you! I thank the giants for giving me the opportunity to be myself, go out there and play the game I love the most. I’m still in shock from what just happened. But I don’t give up on what I want to do. I’m still going to open doors for gay athletes like me. I will continue to strive to become one of the greatest in this business. I ended up on a high note from getting injured to going out there and kicking my ass. Baseball I’m not done with you yet. I’m leaving on my own terms and only on my own terms. Gays can do men’s sports if you give us a chance. Thank you giants, you guys have made a new fan. But they gave me a chip to continue. I love all the new friends I’ve made. I’m not going to cry. I will continue to insist.”
Bates admitted that this day caused a storm of emotions.
“The love and support I get after a strange day. Thank you all, you turned a sad day into a day full of energy,” he wrote on Twitter.
The sports world took to social media to respond to Bates’ statement.
“Proud of you @SolomonBates_ for the courage to declare yourself in the world of sports!” one fan wrote.
“I support you, Solomon,” said another.
“Thank you for being a trailblazer, the performance means so much to us gay fans <3, we love you!!!” added another one.
Bates told Outsports that he opened up to his teammates back in 2019, but continued to keep his orientation a secret from the public.
He hopes his decision to open up will “open doors” for other gay athletes.
“I wasn’t completely myself because I was hiding,” he said. “I’m a man who loves baseball, and now I want to open the doors to gay athletes like me.”