CLEVELAND -- Indians minor leaguer Kazuhito Tadano is asking for forgiveness for what he called a one-time mistake -- his appearance in a gay porn video in which he engaged in a homosexual act.
Tadano took part in the video three years ago when he was a college student. Sitting in the Cleveland clubhouse Tuesday, the pitcher said he hoped to put his actions in the past.
"All of us have made mistakes in our lives," Tadano said, reading a statement in English. "Hopefully, you learn from them and move on."
Shunned by Japanese baseball teams, the 23-year-old Tadano signed with the Indians last March. They think he can make their club this spring.
Tadano gave few details about the video, which he made after his sophomore year at Rikkyo University.
"I did participate in a video and I regret it very much," he said. "It was a one-time incident that showed bad judgment and will never be repeated. I was young, playing baseball, and going to college and my teammates and I needed money.
"Frankly, if I were more mature and had really thought about the implications of what I did, it never would have happened."
Through an interpreter, Tadano added: "I'm not gay. I'd like to clear that fact up right now."
The Indians set up the press session after getting many requests from reporters to speak with Tadano. The team wanted to address the issue before spring training starts next month.
Tadano's admission will certainly draw attention to homosexuality in baseball, a sensitive issue that most players prefer to not even discuss.
There are no openly gay players in the big leagues today. The same is true in the NFL, NHL and NBA.
Tadano was one of Japan's top college pitchers and expected to be a high first-round pick in 2002. But after a Japanese tabloid published photos of him in the video a month before the draft, pro teams in Japan did not select him.
"The commissioner of Japanese baseball came out and said, 'You will not draft Tadano,''' asserted the pitcher's agent, Alan Nero. "But this kid didn't assault anybody. He didn't commit murder. If anything, he is guilty of being naive."
Twice in the minor leagues last season, Tadano stood before his teammates and confessed to his participation in the video, which Nero said can only be obtained on the black market in Japan.
Tadano received overwhelming support from players at Kinston, N.C., where he started the season and later at Akron, the Indians' Double-A affiliate.
"I wanted to tell the truth to my teammates," he said.
A former starter, he pitched in all three levels of the minors last season, going 6-2 with a 1.55 ERA and three saves. At Akron, he didn't allow a run in his first 28 innings and struck out 78 in 72 2-3 innings.
Outfielder Grady Sizemore said Tadano's speech last year was well received in the clubhouse.
"You could tell he was nervous," said Sizemore, a top prospect who lived with Tadano this winter. "But I don't think it changed anybody's opinion of him. After it was said and done, nobody thought anything more of it. He's a great guy and a great pitcher."
If he pitches well during spring training, Tadano could win a spot in Cleveland's bullpen. Whenever he joins the Indians, pitcher C.C. Sabathia says Tadano will be welcomed.
"This is the right team and the right organization for him," Sabathia said. "We have good guys here. Everybody has done something that they regret in their lives. He's a person just like everyone else."
Tadano tried out for several major league teams last spring in Arizona. Coming off an elbow injury, he didn't get any offers. Nero said some teams were turned off by what he called "the scandal."
"He didn't pitch well enough for them to ignore it," Nero said. "I also think they were afraid of the baggage that would come with it."
Not the Indians. They liked Tadano enough to invite him to work out at their spring training facility in Winter Haven, Fla. Eventually, they signed him to a minor league contract that included a $67,500 bonus.
General manager Mark Shapiro said the team decided to sign Tadano despite knowing there could be backlash.
"We thought the upside was well worth the risk, energy and time to support him," Shapiro said.
Tadano knows he may face fan abuse in major league parks such as Yankee Stadium, where heckling the visitors is part of the pageantry.
He joked that he's ready for it.
"I don't understand English, so it doesn't really matter," he said.
It's a new day. Every moment matters. Now, more than ever.
CPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4761 posts, RR: 25 Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4906 times:
Where can I get that video?
I have been reading up on this case for the past few weeks. Interesting how he has to be so insistent that he is straight. That is definetly possible (though unlikely in my opinion), but I don't think there are that many str8s that would be so desperate for $1000, espescially high-level athletes.
However, it is encouraging to see that his team supporting him.
Maybe this is a small stepping stone for the first major league ball player to come out. I've heard of claims that you could have a pretty decent team (with a few all-stars) with the gay players in the game today.
Alpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 4850 times:
That is definetly possible (though unlikely in my opinion), but I don't think there are that many str8s that would be so desperate for $1000, espescially high-level athletes.
He wasn't a "high-level" athlete when he did this. He was a college kid. And how many mostly straight guys in the porn business have done gay scenes? I'd wager quite a few. So if he says he's straight, I'll give the kid the benefit of the doubt. And if he isn't, so what, as long as he can pitch.
Stretch 8 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 2561 posts, RR: 17 Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 4845 times:
There is a former MLB player, Billy Beane, who came out after he was done playing. As for this Japanese kid, it's too bad he has to engage in such denial, assuming he is gay. Says a lot about the state of affairs in MLB these days. I wonder if the gay flick had a baseball theme.
Maggs swings, it's a drive deep to left! The Tigers are going to the World Series!!!
Alpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4833 times:
As for this Japanese kid, it's too bad he has to engage in such denial, assuming he is gay.
How the hell is he in denial, Stretch 8? He says he is not gay, yet you obviously don't give him any benefit of the doubt, and immediately lable him in denial! Talk about a harsh critic, you take the cake.
CPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4761 posts, RR: 25 Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4795 times:
Well, I'm in pretty dire financial straits but you would have to pay me a lot more than $1000 to do str8 porn I think that is the mindset of a lot of people are having in seeing the denial of being homosexual as false.
Well, sorry he DID say he "isn't gay". But he didn't say he was str8 either. Maybe that's the best way to weasel his way out of the situation
Aaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 7891 posts, RR: 27 Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4724 times:
It's an issue because mainstream American society still can't handle homosexuality in a reasoned, mature manner. It's improving, but we're still at a stage where people have to endure discrimination and ridicule for loving someone of the same sex.
Who cares whether this guy is gay or not - he shouldn't have to say anything either way - his bedroom business is just that. All I care about is whether or not he can perform on a baseball diamond.
Telling commentary on the homosexual condition in Japan as well. It's easy to rag on China and others, but this fellow's treatment, gay or not, was abhorrent, particularly by the Japanese baseball establishment. The Japanese consume generous amounts of lesbian-themed porn, but for some reason having participated in a male-male video makes one a pariah. Bullshit.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
CPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4761 posts, RR: 25 Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4618 times:
Just found the screenshots from the video. Apparantley now it is being sold in quantity, not just on the black market as earlier claimed. I won't post the link here to avoid offending people, you'll have to request it
Seb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 10734 posts, RR: 16 Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4590 times:
So, he is young and thin. Those seem to be the only qualifications for being in a gay porno. If he's got it, why not flaunt it? Meanwhile, some of us are told we are too old and fat to do even the simplest things like date or have friends.