Torii Hunter is an anti-gay bigot. This is something he has proven with his own words on multiple occasions. Yesterday, at the press conference to announce the one-year, $10.5 million deal he signed to return to the Minnesota Twins, beat writer Mike Berardino of the Saint Paul Pioneer-Press asked him about those beliefs—specifically, in the context of how Hunter thought supporting Arkansas Republican Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson in his recent election had affected his free agency.
You got some people who are just messy, you know? So, no. It is something I don't like to talk about, but Republican Party, Democratic Party, separated, divided we fall. Simple as that. We just go with the best person that's good for the situation. And I'm from Arkansas and I know what's that, that's all. This has nothing to do with being a Democrat or a Republican, just make sure you make the right decision. That's it.
Berardino then followed-up and asked Hunter directly if he would continue espousing his anti-gay beliefs publicly, and if he would answer questions about them from reporters in the future. Hunter's response:
No I mean, nah. There's nothing to talk about. You already know, so why keep talking about it. I said it? It is what it is. No, I'm not going to talk about it if you bring it up. It's not even baseball related. We can do that later, when a retire, then I'll tell you everything.
A few seconds later, during a lull in the press conference, Hunter decided to tell everybody what he thought of Berardino and his questions (at the 1:47 mark above):
Hey Mike is kind of a prick huh? No, seriously, you're a prick man. I don't even know you. You're a prick. Seriously. Ain't nothing wrong with that man, that's your job. He's definitely a prick though.
Berardino later issued this statement about the incident to KARE11:
The purpose of my final two questions posed to Twins outfielder Torii Hunter at today's news conference was not to make him feel uncomfortable or to force him to expound on his previously stated views on gay marriage.
Rather, having read the strong criticism directed toward him on social media and via Deadspin.com in light of his recent endorsement of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, which included a comment related to gay marriage, I wanted to give Mr. Hunter an opportunity to respond to his critics.
I also asked him if he thought the political backlash might have impacted his recent job search as he eventually settled for a one-year contract at a 19-percent decrease in his average annual salary. Finally, I asked Mr. Hunter if he intended to be as open with his political and religious views moving forward after having gone through this recent experience.
I asked the same questions a few minutes later of Katrina Hunter, his wife, and she offered well-reasoned answers that did not include insults at my expense. I published her complete answers, as well as those of her husband, on my Twins Now blog at TwinCities.com.
Regardless, I consider the unfortunate matter closed and I look forward to covering Mr. Hunter throughout the 2015 baseball season.