Homophobic slurs are bad. Everyone's nodding their head, good. But that doesn't mean the Yunel Escobar situation is without nuance. The Toronto Star talked to a professor of Spanish at the University of Toronto, who thought it was a slur akin to the word "wuss" in English. In that same article, another professor thought it would be "deeply offensive" to yell the term in question. It's not quite as binary as it might seem.
Boy, it sure was stupid, though! And at a press conference, Yunel Escobar addressed the media through an interpreter. It got stupider. Some of the quotes, as relayed by the National Post:
"Honestly it’s been a terrible experience in my life and career," Escobar said through a translator. "It’s something I’m sorry for and something I won’t do again."
Cool. Hey, we all make ...
Escobar said he has friends who are gay and has nothing against homosexuals.
Wait, the "some of my best friends are ..." excuse? Didn't anyone warn him not to use that?
"The person who decorates my house is gay, the person who cuts my hair is gay," he added.
Say, that went well.
Somehow, Escobar managed to reinforce homosexual stereotypes during a public apology. That takes talent! If anything, though, that speaks to just how disconnected Escobar is. He really didn't think there was anything wrong with the slur. Just goin' 'bout his business, writin' a dirty word under his eyes for the yuks. And he certainly didn't have the self-awareness to shut up before that amazingly oblivious quote.
While the team said the groups they talked to (namely You Can Play and GLAAD) focused less on the punishment than on education, I gotta say I’m not happy with three games. A least one sports commentator in Toronto wanted him suspended for the rest of the season. A suspension is important – the only way to get to these guys is with playing time. And the education is great and important. I’m just not satisfied with seeing him back on the playing field on Friday.
The flap was never going to blow over with a repentant press conference and a three-game suspension. But it wasn't supposed to get worse. Who will damage control the damage control?
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was wearing eye black on Saturday. Players often write words on the eye black; it was discovered that Escobar’s wording contained a homophobic slur written in Spanish.
After a meeting involving Escobar and representatives of the Blue Jays, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ association, it was announced Tuesday that Escobar would be suspended. Here’s a (brief) statement from the Blue Jays, via tweets from the team’s official Twitter account:
Yunel Escobar will be suspended for three games beginning tonight.The suspension is the result of his decision to display an …..
Thus, Escobar will miss the Blue Jays’ series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, an important series for the New Yorkers. Escobar is having the worst full season of his career, hitting just .251/.295/.346 in 514 at-bats.
Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar will be available to the media at 3:30 ET today at Yankee Stadium to answer questions regarding the slur written on his eye black during Saturday's game, the team has announced.
Escobar will meet the press alongside general manager Alex Anthopolous, manager John Farrell and assistant coach Luis Rivera to discuss the eye black situation. The Blue Jays released a statement Monday condemning the Spanish slur, stating its stance against discrimination in any form, and stated their intent to investigate the situation. Major League Baseball has also launched an investigation into the incident.
The unfortunate incident only adds to what has been a disappointing season on the field for the Cuban shortstop. Escobar, 29, is batting just .251/.295/.346 with nine home runs on the year. Escobar has not played since Saturday, missing Sunday's game with "flu-like symptoms". The Blue Jays had Monday off to travel.