An openly bisexual high school baseball player from the Hudson Valley is alleging that he was the target of a hateful gay slur during a recent game, launching an investigation and firestorm of emotions.
Sam Culwell, a pitcher for Rondout Valley High School in Kenhonkson, alleged in a lengthy Facebook post that he was targeted by an opposing player in the opposite dugout during a recent game on April 10 against Marlboro High School.
In his post, the 17-year-old said he was “disappointed, disgusted and hurt by the treatment that (he) received by the Marlboro Central Schools athletes and coaches.”
“Last year I came out as bisexual, and in a small school like mine, it came with its struggles. Luckily enough, I have helped to change my friends' and my school’s views on sexuality and sports.... that is to say there’s no reason to discriminate against an athlete for this reason, and I want to be judged based on my abilities, sportsmanship, and effort,” his post - which has since gone viral with 550 shares - said.
Culwell said that he came in as a reliever during the matchup against Marlboro, and during his second inning, his coach came for a mound visit in an effort to “give (him) a breather.”
According to Culwell, during that visit, after striking out a batter, someone in the opposing dug old shouted “tell him he’s a failure and a (expletive deleted)” Culwell said, “it took all of my composure to not break down on the spot.”
“I am disappointed, disgusted, and hurt by the treatment that I have received by Marlboro Central Schools Athletes and coaches,” his post continued. “There is no room for hate, especially in a high school baseball game. We are all there for the same reason. Our love of baseball. And shame on your program for going out of their way to try and ruin what I love so much. All I have to say is Marlboro Central School District Take notes from my school. We have the ability to change, accept and embrace those who are different.”
Following the reported incident, the Marlboro School District has launched an investigation to determine what happened on the field. According to reports, witnesses have claimed that the slur yelled at Culwell was actually, “tell him he’s a failure and fat.”
“Hate of any kind is unacceptable, immoral and goes against all that we as a district believe, live and teach,” Marlboro Schools Superintendent Michael Brooks said in a statement. “We have been made aware of a serious allegation made against an individual on our varsity baseball team. It is alleged that inflammatory and derogatory name-calling related to an opposing player’s sexuality was used during a recent game.”
The investigation into the incident is unlikely to be concluded when Marlboro heads to Rondout Valley this week for another matchup.
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