It seemed like things were going pretty well for Carl Pavano. His disastrous tenure with the Yankees behind him, he seemed like he’d found a home with the Twins, even putting together his best season in a while in 2010 (last season didn’t go quite as well, though) and generally working toward reclaiming a baseball legacy other than “notorious free agent bust.” While things might be going better on the field, though, off it, they’re apparently less so. Specifically, Pavano is the victim of an alleged extortion plot by a high school classmate… who claims the two had an “emotional and physical relationship.” Yeah.
The person who actually received the messages from the man in question, Christian Bedard, was Pavano’s sister, Michelle DeGennaro. Bedard contacted DeGennaro late last year. It began where so many other creepy ideas begin: Facebook. Pavano’s sister then went to police, because she thought Bedard’s Facebook message to her constituted harassment. Looking at what he apparently said, it’s not hard to figure out why she felt that way. Bedard was certainly… specific in his demand:
“The only way your brother is getting out of this… is with a heart-felt apology and a navy Range Rover with tan leather.”
Bedard told DeGennaro he had a $1.2 million book deal on the table (presumably, that’s the “this” that Pavano would “get out of” by giving Bedard his dream Range Rover). The problem with all this is that DeGennaro says Bedard’s story of a relationship with Pavano, while it would be news if true, is “clearly false.” And Bedard isn’t exactly giving us a ton of reasons to take his version of events as the unvarnished truth.
So no, this doesn’t appear to be a smoking gun for a “Pro athlete outed as gay by ex-lover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” story, much as Bedard might try. It brings up an interesting point as to a potential actual outing, though. OutSports reacted to this story by saying, “We’ve long speculated that the first out athlete in one of the big U.S. sports leagues could be outed by a jilted lover.” And we have to admit, we generally haven’t considered that as a possible way for the inevitable eventual outing of an active male athlete in a major American sport to happen.
But it is. And considering the number of jilted gay lovers of pro athletes there probably are out there, it’s something of a wonder it hasn’t happened already. We think of a coming out, we think of Rick Welts – a New York Times story, some classy interviews thereafter. There’ll be much more of a firestorm surrounding it, of course, but the template would be the same.
Well, in real life, not necessarily. And “Jilted lover speaks!” would of course be a much less dignified way for an outing to happen. But one way or another, an outing will happen eventually. Just by the law of averages, it has to. We just hope that whenever it does, it’s not because someone wants a fancy SUV.
Getty photo, by Jonathan Daniel; pre-jump photovia