Former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy revealed that he is gay in an interview with the New York Times published Sunday.

McClatchy, 49, said he came out in hopes it would be a positive example to young people who fear a negative reaction from their family, friends and co-workers. He also said he kept his sexuality a secret after hearing many homophobic slurs in baseball’s inner circles.

McClatchy led an ownership group that bought the Pirates in 1996, and he admitted to concealing his sexual orientation during the deal. He later sold his controlling interest in the team in 2007, but kept his minority shares until 2009.

"I think I was more paranoid, for sure, about people," he told the Times. "And suspicious, definitely. And angry."

No professional athlete in the four major American team sports has ever come out during his playing career, which McClatchy said bothered him.

"Tens of thousands of people have played either professional minor league baseball or major league baseball," he said. "Not one has come out and said that they're gay while they're playing."

McClatchy is currently the chairman of the board for his family's McClatchy Co., which owns newspapers in 15 states.

Before leaving, McClatchy helped the Pirates obtain a deal for a new stadium and assured the city of Pittsburgh their team would not relocate.

He also told the Times he expects criticism for all sides on his decision to go public with his sexuality now, rather than when he still owned the Pirates.

"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. "(But) I could find excuses for why not to do this article until I'm blue in the face."