Jays suspend Yunel Escobar three games for gay slur
New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The Toronto Blue Jays have suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar three games for using eye-black stickers containing a homophobic slur written in Spanish below his eyes during Saturday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.
“I’m sorry for the actions of the other day,” Escobar said through a translator at a Tuesday news conference. “I’d like to apologize to the fans and the Blue Jays organization. It’s not something I intended to be offensive. It was nothing intentional or directed at anyone in particular. I have nothing against homosexuals.”
The Blue Jays will donate salary lost by Escobar during the suspension to the You Can Play and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Escobar will also also participate in an outreach initiative to help educate others about sensitivity and tolerance toward others based on sexual orientation.
In a statement, Commissioner Bud Selig said he supports the Blue Jays decision to suspend Escobar and for handling the situation appropriately and promptly.
“It is important to note that in addition to being suspended without pay, Mr. Escobar has agreed to complete a sensitivity training program and will participate in a public outreach initiative aimed towards promoting sensitivity and tolerance,” Selig said.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell explained why the message below Escobar’s eyes went unnoticed.
“There’s a number of instances where Yunel has written messages on his eye black,” Farrell said, “and so we didn’t really notice it or pay attention to it.”
Escobar will serve his suspension in the first three games of the Jays’ four-game set against the New York Yankees.