Former Pirates owner says he's gay

Kevin McClatchy, former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates and chairman of the board of The McClatchy Co., revealed that he is gay in an interview with The New York Times.

McClatchy, 49, said he made the disclosure in the hopes that it would give strength to young people in sports who were hiding their sexual orientations out of fear.

There has not been an openly gay athlete in one of the major team-sports in America, though there are openly gay Americans in the military and in other phases of American life.

McClatchy said he hid his sexual orientation when he led a group to buy the Pirates in 1996 because he needed public support to complete the purchase of the struggling franchise and worried his personal life would become an unneeded distraction.

The McClatchy Co. is the owner of The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette and 29 other newspapers in the U.S.