Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Toronto Blue Jays’ Yunel Escobar suspended for homophobic slur

Salary to be donated to 'You Can Play' and GLAAD
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NEW YORK — The Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday announced that shortstop Yunel Escobar has been suspended from play in this week’s three-game series against the New York Yankees for displaying an anti-gay slur written on his eye black strips during last Saturday’s home game against the Boston Red Sox.

A close-up photo heavily circulated online in social media showed the words “Tu ere maricon” — Spanish for “You’re a faggot” — on the black tape.

Yunel Escobar, during a game Sept. 15 against the Boston Red Sox.

“I apologize to the Jay’s fans and baseball fans in general. It wasn’t anything personal, it was something I always do with the stickers on my eyes,” said Escobar at a news conference Tuesday, with the assistance of an interpreter, Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo.

“I regret what happened and this is something that will never happen again. It is a lesson I learned and I will never commit again. I’m sorry I didn’t want this to be misinterpreted by the gay community,” he said.

Tuesday’s decision to suspend Escobar came after a series of meetings with the Escobar and the club’s management, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association.

The salary forfeited by Escobar during his suspension — about $82,000 — will be donated to “You Can Play” and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Escobar, 29, will also participate in an outreach initiative to help educate society about sensitivity and tolerance to others based on their sexual orientation, and attend a sensitivity training program, in accordance with the agreement reached between him, the Blue Jays and MLB.

Despite the agreement, some Spanish-speaking people have claimed on sports talk radio and in comments left around the web on numerous sites that reported the incident, that the phrase is sometimes used, particularly by men, in a joking way, not in a literal form intended to insult.

“That word doesn’t have the same significance that we (Latinos) put into it. That’s a word we use often among players,” said Escobar, a native of Havana, Cuba.

“It was a joke between us players, it wasn’t the first time I write something on the stickers. It wasn’t directed at anybody specifically,” he said.

“It went from a joke to a big problem and I never thought it was gonna become something bad and people would take it this way. I agree with the suspension and I don’t have a problem with it.”

Escobar is not the first professional athlete to have used a homophobic slur. Canadian Broadcasting Company sportswriter Tony Care listed some of the more recent examples:

In 2011, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for using a derogatory gay term at a referee during a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

That same year, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was captured on camera throwing an anti-gay slur at a fan following a second foul in a playoff loss to the Miami Heat. He was fined $50,000 for his actions.

Also in 2011, Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was suspended for two weeks after using a gay slur and making crude gestures to fans in San Francisco.

And earlier this year, Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark was suspended for three games with pay for uttering a gay slur at a Seattle Sounders ball boy. The offensive term was picked up by microphones for the nationally televised game.

Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , , ,

Filed under: Newsmakers

13 more reader comments:

  1. gooood

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:43pm
  2. wow…..

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:44pm
  3. Some guys really need to grow up.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:46pm
  4. oop…well deserved suspension.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:47pm
  5. wow, what a bastard.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:48pm
  6. What friggin chump… He got what he deserved

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:48pm
  7. Seems a fair punishment

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:51pm
  8. 1. It should have been a longer suspension. A “three day weekend off” hardly affects salaries above 6 or 7 figures. 2. Whether he “meant it or not”, his choice of words were poor. Words that can be taken many ways should probably not be written on your face for all to see. 3. At 16 1/2 games back and a mere half game from the basement in the AL East, he should really be concentrating on figuring out how to motivate himself and his team to win more, not just reverting to high school level smack talk. Glad judgement was swift, but there has got to be a point that professional sports draws the line and instructs their players that things like this are not winning them any more fans willing to shell out a few hundred bucks for a day at a game…I’d be fired for this at my work, Period.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:57pm
  9. im sure it wasnt intended or pointed at anyone that is gay. but when your on a televised game so the whole world can see… next time just write hi mom.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:58pm
  10. Douche

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 2:59pm
  11. Glad they suspended his sorry ass.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 3:05pm
  12. yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay =)

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 4:47pm
  13. So sad being from a country that is supportive to the gay community

    Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 6:43pm