Controversy lingers weeks after the Gay Softball World Series crowned its champions, with an Atlanta team in the middle of the thicket.
The Georgia Mudcats placed second in the Open Division A, the most competitive, after filing a protest that led to the disqualification of D2 over allegations that their roster included too many straight players. The North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association, which sanctions the tournament, says only two non-gay players are allowed per team in the World Series.
The Mudcats protested their loss, alleging D2 was breaking the rules by having at least six straight players on their team. Series officials ruled the protest valid while D2 was playing in the championship game against the Los Angeles Vipers. That ruling knocked D2 out of a second place finish and put the Mudcats at No. 2.
“For years, it’s never been a secret D2 has too many straight players,” said a Mudcat player, who asked to remain anonymous.
“I’ve played on other teams against D2 and when they put us out of a previous World Series, a friend said, ‘I swear to God, I’m never going to get put out of the World Series again by a bunch of straight players.’ That’s what planted the seed to get them the hell out of there.”
Officials with the Mudcats and the Hotlanta Softball League didn’t comment to Southern Voice, while NAGAAA Commissioner Roy Melani hung up on a reporter from the newspaper. San Francisco Gay Softball League Commissioner Vincent Fuqua, where the D2 plays, said the league was preparing a protest of its own.
“They filed the protest after they lost,” he said of the Mudcats.
When asked how the Atlanta team knew D2 had straight players, Fuqua answered, “That’s a good question.”
“From my understanding,” he added, “I’ve not heard of anyone being disqualified for the non-gay rule.”
Fuqua said he could not comment further because of the ongoing appeal, but said, “Our policy is to follow NAGAAA rules.”
The Bay Area Reporter has more reaction on the controversy, including reaction from D2 players.
George Lee, a 45-year-old catcher and outfielder, has been with D2 for nine years. “We found out during the championship game that we were being protested,” Lee told the B.A.R. “It had been rumored the day before that they [the Mudcats] were lobbying other teams to protest with them. The other teams did not want to do that. The [third-place] Phoenix Toros - we look at them as a sister team - they told us they were asked to join the protest and they said no.
“We were playing the LA Vipers when they stopped the game in the sixth inning. Then they started again, stopped again, and started again. We finished the game, then we had to go over to this room to meet with the NAGAAA board - all the coaches and players and myself.
“They proceeded to read out of the NAGAAA rules and regulations and a definition of what being a heterosexual meant and what being gay meant.”
The six players being protested were asked to which sex they were “predominantly” attracted.
“Nobody said they were straight,” Lee said. “One guy said he liked both. The guy leading the protest said that wasn’t an answer.
“Two of these guys answered the questions the same way. They ruled one was gay and one was straight. On one guy, the vote changed three times.”
Three times and you’re out - or not “out” enough, according to the panel, which ruled that four of the players were straight, two more than the rule allowed.