Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar has been suspended 3 games without pay for showing a gay slur on his eye black in a recent game.
The Blue Jays announced the suspension after meeting with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association at the Commissioner Bud Selig’s office in N.Y to determine Escobar’s punishment.
At least one photo taken showed Escobar wearing the eye black with the slur written in Spanish during Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.
“I’m sorry for the actions of the other day,” Escobar said through a translator in a press conference at Yankee Stadium. “It wasn’t something I intended to be offensive. It was something I just put on the sticker on my face as a joke. There was nothing deliberate aimed at anyone particularly.
“I don’t have anything against homosexuals. I have buddies who are gay. In reality I would like to ask for the apologies of all of those that have been offended by this.”
Considering Escobar makes about $5 million this season, he’ll lose over $92,000 during his suspension.
MLB rules forbid insulting words and symbols on uniforms. Writing something of that nature on eye black would fall under that category, Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney announced.
“I can guarantee this will not happen again in my career,” Escobar asserted. “And it’s a lesson I’ve learned and will never commit again in my career. I am sorry, I didn’t mean for this to be misinterpreted by the homosexual community. I apologize.
Escobar said that he was “embarrassed” and asserted it was his idea to write the slur, which he probably did 10 minutes before the game. He said he had not written it before.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell asserted nobody on the team paid any attention to the words on his shortstop’s eye black because usually they’re “uplifting and motivational.” Las Vegas odds
Escobar announced he’s been writing on his eye black throughout his career.
“My reaction initially was one of surprise, because this is completely out of character as I know him as a person and as a player, and it speaks clearly to the fact that people who wear this uniform have a responsibility to MLB and there’s very much a social component to that,” said Farrell, who added that he addressed the team.
“If you look back there’s a number of occasions, he’s frequently done it, no one paid attention to it.”
Farrell declared he does not believe there’s a problem with homophobia in major league clubhouses.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos believes this event can eventually become a positive.
“It’s a selection of emotions. I think what came out from all of this is a lack of education. I know it’s not merely an issue in sports. It is an issue in life,” Anthopoulos asserted. “Just when you even speak to him and some of the groups that are going on, it’s clear that the problem isn’t going away, and this is just an illustration of it. It is not getting solved today; this is just an illustrative example of it.”