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One of the youngest umpires in major league baseball history, Dave Pallone was forced to hide his sexuality for decades in order to realize his childhood dream of making calls on the baseball diamond. Since the 1990s, he has become one of the most recognized public figures working to knock down barriers for the LGBT community particularly in the world of college and professional sports.

Pallone worked 18 years as a professional umpire, standing firm in his calls even when angry fans were hurling food, garbage, and other items at him from the stands. After being “outed” by a New York Post article in 1988, he was pressured to resign from major league baseball, and to date is the only openly gay umpire in MLB history.

His New York Times’ best-selling autobiography, Behind The Mask: My Double Life In Baseball has received nationwide attention and inspired more than 700,000 people to write him letters regarding his story and their own struggles regarding sexual orientation and acceptance. Pallone was one of the first inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. He is a preferred speaker for the NCAA, and has educated hundreds of corporate, conference, and college audiences on sexual orientation and how to foster a supportive diverse culture that respects everyone.

Full Profile

    Dave Pallone worked 18 years as a professional umpire; 10 of those years with the National Baseball League. As the third youngest umpire in baseball history, he demonstrated courage, professionalism and the ability to withstand adversity through many of baseball′s high profile controversial events.

    Dave is the author of the 1990 New York Time′s best-selling autobiography, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, which offers a revealing look at baseball through the eyes of a gay man. Since the publication of his autobiography, Dave has dedicated his life to educating and enlightening people about the reality of sexual orientation. His philosophy of respecting yourself and others, provides insight into the complex issues and challenges that come from understanding sexual orientation.

    Dave is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, and has been a keynote speaker at conferences, diversity trainer on sexual orientation for corporations, and has brought his work on sexual orientation sensitivity to hundreds of higher education campuses. He is on the NCAA′s preferred speakers list for diversity, and has brought his presentation to athletic departments around the country. Making history on October 11, 1995, Dave and tennis great Martina Navratilova appeared on stage together for a candid conversation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was the first time that two prominent, openly gay people in professional sports appeared on stage.

    Dave has given interviews for national publications such as the The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The New York Times and has written OP-Eds for USA Today and New York Newsday. He has been a frequent guest on “Larry King Live,” and has appeared on The Today Show, CBS Morning, BBC Radio, NPR, and several others.

    Dave owned and hosted his own sports radio show in Boston, Massachusetts and has been featured in ESPN′s documentary “Homophobia in Sports”, as well as appearing on ESPN′s Outside the Lines. Dave was honored to be selected by GENRE Magazine as one of the 100 men of the 20th century.


Dave Pallone Speaker Videos Back to top

Keynote Speech


Diversity and LGBT speaker, Dave Pallone discusses how at a young age he had to choose between living his professional dream and being honest about who he really was. Ever since he attended his first baseball game at Fenway Park, Pallone had dreamed of becoming an umpire. While pursuing that dream, he also made the discovery that he was gay – something that he had been told was “evil” and an illness.

“When I was growing up I was told that I could never be a part of professional sports, because there was no one like me in professional sports,” Pallone describes the societal attitudes that served as the landscape for his childhood and youth. However, he points out the decision he made to hide his sexuality for the sake of his career is a decision that many people are still facing nearly four decades later. “Do I take that dream and throw it away so that I can have my personal life, or do I take my personal life on hold so that I can keep my dream?”


Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Dave Pallone shares the dramatic story of how he hid his sexuality for 37 years in order to fulfill his childhood dream of making calls on the baseball field until league officials discovered his secret and fired him. He breaks down the challenges of being “different” within sports leagues, and explains how individuals and organizations can build bridges, embrace diversity, and foster respect for everyone.

Pallone has worked extensively as a diversity trainer for the NCAA, speaking nationwide to college athletic departments about sexual orientation and tolerance. His presentations are noted for examining aspects of sexual orientation that are often overlooked and rarely discussed. Furthermore, he has received rave reviews for his presentations on LGBT issues in the corporate workplace, and is also always eager to talk about baseball.

    ′WHO′S REALLY ON FIRST′ SUGGESTED CORPORATE OUTLINE
    Dave Pallone′s presentation on sexual orientation is offered in a full day or a half day presentation, and can be formatted to meet your company′s needs.

    Full Day

    Dave has a meeting with the LGBT employee group and HR personnel to discuss their concerns, and to determine the direction the company needs to go to enhance the climate for LGBT employees.

    A more private meeting with the Director of HR, to discuss his or her concerns within the company on LGBT issues, and to review ways to heighten awareness of the needs of their company′s LGBT employees.

    A presentation open to the all employees, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.

    A final meeting with all HR employees to discuss ways they feel could change the climate for LGBT employees .

    Half Day

    Dave has a meeting with the LGBT employee group and HR personnel to discuss their concerns, and to determine the direction the company needs to go to enhance the climate for LGBT employees.

    A presentation open to the all employees, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.


    ′WHO′S REALLY ON FIRST′
    SUGGESTED HIGHER EDUCATION OUTLINE

    Dave Pallone′s presentation on sexual orientation is offered in a full day or a half day presentation, and can be formatted to meet your campus needs.

    Full Day

    A meeting with the LGBT group on campus, to discuss the concerns of the group and to determine the direction the university or college needs to go to enhance the climate for their LGBT students.

    Classroom visits to discuss sexual orientation /sensitivity. Classrooms that would be visited but not limited to would be sociology, gay literature/ history, and sports medicine. A meeting with Residence Life, as well as RAs, to discuss their concerns within the university or college on LGBT issues, and to review ways to heighten awareness of the needs of their LGBT students.

    Roundtables with coaches and /or athletes to discuss homophobia within college and professional sports.

    A presentation open to all students and staff, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.

    Half Day

    A meeting with the LGBT group on campus, to discuss the concerns of the group and to determine the direction the university or college needs to go to enhance the climate for their LGBT students.

    Roundtables with coaches and /or athletes to discuss homophobia within college and professional sports.

    A presentation open to all students and staff, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.


    THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE BUT YOU HAVE TO STAND

    Dave’s presentation on the American pastime will take you behind the scenes like you’ve never been before. His hour and half long presentation takes you inside the game of baseball from the rare perspective of ‘behind the mask’. Drawing from his journey umpiring in the NY Penn League, to winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and finally to the National League his stories touch on managers and players from when they were in the minor leagues through their tenure in the majors. His interactions with managers Tommy Lasorda, Frank Robinson, and Bobby Cox, Pete Rose as well players like Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Joe Neikro and others will make you cry with laughter.

    For fans, you get the opportunity to ask your favorite baseball questions. Did Don Sutton ever scrape the ball with a razor blade, or did Mike Scott use sandpaper? Could Nolan Ryan really throw a fastball 100 miles an hour? Did Barry Bonds really use steroids? Did Dave know that Pete Rose bet on baseball? How about the strike zone? And of course, the inside story of the famous altercation with Pete Rose. The infamous video shows only what the eye can see… but you have to hear the whole story to know EXACTLY what really happened!

    Funny and insightful, this is a must see for baseball fans, their families, and for those who enjoy the insider view on baseball.



Dave Pallone Speaker Testimonials Back to top

Dave was exceptionally well received and touched everyone with his life and baseball experiences. We had some concerns about homophobia among our craft employees and a lack of sensitivity to their fellow workers, who may be LGBT or have friends and family members that were LGBT. Dave’s presentation was really a watershed event and went a long way in helping our workforce to be more open and accepting of those that may be different from us.
Dave MacFarland-Manager
PECO Energy

Dave your presentation was an absolute home run…I have received outstanding feedback…We may bug you for a return event! As for me personally, I admire both your speaking ability and your personal courage. I learned from your session, and it was like being at a damned movie; I didn’t want the two hours to end!
K. Dean Moore-Director Human Resources
Eastman Kodak Company

An excellent speaker, Dave made a major contribution in advancing the goals of our Diversity Series. It is without reservation that I recommend Dave Pallone as a diversity trainer and keynote speaker.
Thomas Rahilly-Senior Vice President Human Resources
Mastercard International

As one of Chubb’s designated champions of diversity issues, I’m always looking for ways to defuse highly-charged, combative debates and transform them into reasoned and productive exchanges among colleagues. By being approachable, engaging, and rising above the rhetoric, you provided an impressive model for achieving that higher plane.
David Fowler-Executive Vice President
Chubb Group Insurance Companies




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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Dave was exceptionally well received and touched everyone with his life and baseball experiences. We had some concerns about homophobia among our craft employees and a lack of sensitivity to their fellow workers, who may be LGBT or have friends and family members that were LGBT. Dave’s presentation was really a watershed event and went a long way in helping our workforce to be more open and accepting of those that may be different from us.
Dave MacFarland-Manager
PECO Energy

Dave your presentation was an absolute home run…I have received outstanding feedback…We may bug you for a return event! As for me personally, I admire both your speaking ability and your personal courage. I learned from your session, and it was like being at a damned movie; I didn’t want the two hours to end!
K. Dean Moore-Director Human Resources
Eastman Kodak Company

An excellent speaker, Dave made a major contribution in advancing the goals of our Diversity Series. It is without reservation that I recommend Dave Pallone as a diversity trainer and keynote speaker.
Thomas Rahilly-Senior Vice President Human Resources
Mastercard International

As one of Chubb’s designated champions of diversity issues, I’m always looking for ways to defuse highly-charged, combative debates and transform them into reasoned and productive exchanges among colleagues. By being approachable, engaging, and rising above the rhetoric, you provided an impressive model for achieving that higher plane.
David Fowler-Executive Vice President
Chubb Group Insurance Companies


    Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball
    BEHIND THE MASK My Double Life in Baseball. Eighteen years of controversy, hard work, triumphs and disappointments - Dave Pallone had a remarkable career as a National League Umpire. But all the while, he suffered a double life: hidden behind the faÃade he had built to protect himself, Dave Pallone was gay. And the revelation of his secret did what nearly two decades of facing down irate managers, abusive players and ostracism as a strike-breaking "scab" couldn′t do - it destroyed his career in a few short months. Told with honesty, humor, and insight, this is his moving story - where the real man behind the stories and controversies is finally revealed.
    Order Here





    ′WHO′S REALLY ON FIRST′ SUGGESTED CORPORATE OUTLINE
    Dave Pallone′s presentation on sexual orientation is offered in a full day or a half day presentation, and can be formatted to meet your company′s needs.

    Full Day

    Dave has a meeting with the LGBT employee group and HR personnel to discuss their concerns, and to determine the direction the company needs to go to enhance the climate for LGBT employees.

    A more private meeting with the Director of HR, to discuss his or her concerns within the company on LGBT issues, and to review ways to heighten awareness of the needs of their company′s LGBT employees.

    A presentation open to the all employees, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.

    A final meeting with all HR employees to discuss ways they feel could change the climate for LGBT employees .

    Half Day

    Dave has a meeting with the LGBT employee group and HR personnel to discuss their concerns, and to determine the direction the company needs to go to enhance the climate for LGBT employees.

    A presentation open to the all employees, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.


    ′WHO′S REALLY ON FIRST′
    SUGGESTED HIGHER EDUCATION OUTLINE

    Dave Pallone′s presentation on sexual orientation is offered in a full day or a half day presentation, and can be formatted to meet your campus needs.

    Full Day

    A meeting with the LGBT group on campus, to discuss the concerns of the group and to determine the direction the university or college needs to go to enhance the climate for their LGBT students.

    Classroom visits to discuss sexual orientation /sensitivity. Classrooms that would be visited but not limited to would be sociology, gay literature/ history, and sports medicine. A meeting with Residence Life, as well as RAs, to discuss their concerns within the university or college on LGBT issues, and to review ways to heighten awareness of the needs of their LGBT students.

    Roundtables with coaches and /or athletes to discuss homophobia within college and professional sports.

    A presentation open to all students and staff, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.

    Half Day

    A meeting with the LGBT group on campus, to discuss the concerns of the group and to determine the direction the university or college needs to go to enhance the climate for their LGBT students.

    Roundtables with coaches and /or athletes to discuss homophobia within college and professional sports.

    A presentation open to all students and staff, which includes Q & A, ranging from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on scheduling needs.


    THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE BUT YOU HAVE TO STAND

    Dave’s presentation on the American pastime will take you behind the scenes like you’ve never been before. His hour and half long presentation takes you inside the game of baseball from the rare perspective of ‘behind the mask’. Drawing from his journey umpiring in the NY Penn League, to winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and finally to the National League his stories touch on managers and players from when they were in the minor leagues through their tenure in the majors. His interactions with managers Tommy Lasorda, Frank Robinson, and Bobby Cox, Pete Rose as well players like Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Joe Neikro and others will make you cry with laughter.

    For fans, you get the opportunity to ask your favorite baseball questions. Did Don Sutton ever scrape the ball with a razor blade, or did Mike Scott use sandpaper? Could Nolan Ryan really throw a fastball 100 miles an hour? Did Barry Bonds really use steroids? Did Dave know that Pete Rose bet on baseball? How about the strike zone? And of course, the inside story of the famous altercation with Pete Rose. The infamous video shows only what the eye can see… but you have to hear the whole story to know EXACTLY what really happened!

    Funny and insightful, this is a must see for baseball fans, their families, and for those who enjoy the insider view on baseball.



Keynote Speech


Diversity and LGBT speaker, Dave Pallone discusses how at a young age he had to choose between living his professional dream and being honest about who he really was. Ever since he attended his first baseball game at Fenway Park, Pallone had dreamed of becoming an umpire. While pursuing that dream, he also made the discovery that he was gay – something that he had been told was “evil” and an illness.

“When I was growing up I was told that I could never be a part of professional sports, because there was no one like me in professional sports,” Pallone describes the societal attitudes that served as the landscape for his childhood and youth. However, he points out the decision he made to hide his sexuality for the sake of his career is a decision that many people are still facing nearly four decades later. “Do I take that dream and throw it away so that I can have my personal life, or do I take my personal life on hold so that I can keep my dream?”