MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A press conference announcing Torii Hunter’s return to Minnesota baseball took an awkward turn Wednesday afternoon when a reporter asked him about his stance on gay marriage.
Hunter held a conference at Target Field with Twins General Manager Terry Ryan and incoming Manager Paul Molitor to formally announce his 1-year, $10.5 million deal with the team.
Near the end of the conference, reporter Mike Berardino indirectly asked the outfielder if he had discussed his public stance on gay marriage with Twins management, and if his beliefs may have hampered his free-agent marketability.
Hunter had recorded an ad supporting Republican Asa Hutchinson, an Arkansas gubernatorial candidate who lost to Democrat Mike Beebe in November’s election. In the ad, Hunter applauds Hutchinson for wanting to keep marriage between a man and a woman.
Hunter answered Berardino by saying he supported Hutchinson because he felt he was the right candidate, and not due to any party affiliation.
The reporter then directly asked Hunter about an article on the sports website Deadspin concerning the athlete’s stance on gay marriage, and if he was going to address the matter going forward.
“Nothing to talk about,” Hunter said. “You already know, so why keep talking about it? I said it. It is what it is. So, no, I’m not going to talk about it if you bring it up. It’s not even baseball related. You can do that later, when I retire, then I’ll tell you everything.”
A few seconds later, Hunter turned his attention back to the reporter.
“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,” Hunter said. “Ain’t nothing wrong with that, man, that’s your job. He’s definitely a prick, though.”
One more question was asked before the conference ended. Before leaving, Hunter pointed to the reporter and said he ruined the press conference.
Hunter was first with the Twins from 1997 until 2007. His reunion year in Minnesota will be his 19th season in Major League Baseball.