PITTSBURGH, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy said he felt it was time to come out of the closet and declare his homosexuality.
"It wasn't easy, but it was the right time to do it," McClatchy told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after making the announcement in The New York Times.
McClatchy, 49, told the Tribune-Review his goal was to encourage kids to not be scared away from sports.
"It's not a great existence to be scared about who you are and afraid to talk about it," McClatchy said. "I hope kids will know that if you want to play sports, as long as you love the game, that's enough. You don't have to hide your life."
McClatchy was 33 and the youngest owner in Major Leagues when he acquired the Pirates in 1996. He relinquished ownership five years ago.
He told the newspaper he had made MLB headquarters aware of the Times op-ed piece in advance but said the timing of the announcement had nothing to do with the recent suspension of Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar for wearing a gay slur on his eye-black tape.
McClatchy, chairman of the McClatchy newspaper chain, told the Times this weekend he was glad his secret was out and better late than never. "I'm sure people will criticize me because I came out later, and I should have come out while I was in baseball and in the thick of it," he said, adding. "I could find excuses for why not to do this article until I'm blue in the face."