Jays' Escobar Suspended
Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar apologized Tuesday for playing a recent game with a homophobic slur written in Spanish
under his eyes, an action that resulted in a three-game suspension.
Several pictures posted online showed Escobar with the message written on his eye-black stickers, which are often worn under the eyes to reduce the sun's glare.
The team announced the suspension after Escobar and team officials met with representatives from Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association.
Escobar, flanked by general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Farrell at an afternoon news conference, apologized for his actions.
``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.''
Escobar had written under his eyes ``TU ERE MARICON,'' which can be translated as ``You are a faggot.''
The player said he was embarrassed by his actions.
``It was just a joke,'' Escobar said through the interpreter. ``It was my idea but it wasn't directed at anyone in particular.''
Escobar said he has friends who are gay and has nothing against homosexuals.
``What came out through all of this is the lack of education,'' said Anthopoulos. ``It's not just an issue in sports it's an issue
in life ... It's clear the problem isn't going away and this is just an example of it.''
His forfeited salary will go to You Can Play and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Escobar will also participate in a sensitivity training program in accordance with the team and MLB.
Farrell said Escobar often writes messages on his eye-black stickers, so others in the clubhouse didn't really notice it.
``Because it's frequently done on his part, really no one paid attention to it,'' Farrell said. ``The size of the lettering is so
small that if you were to view it you'd have to be basically looking in his eyes.''
The stickers were worn during Saturday's home game against the Boston Red Sox.
The 29-year-old Cuban shortstop made his big-league debut with Atlanta in 2007 and was traded to the Blue Jays in 2010. Escobar is batting .259 this season with nine home runs and 49 RBIs.
The Blue Jays will open a three-game series later Tuesday against the Yankees.
You Can Play, an organization dedicated to eliminating homophobia in sports, was founded by Patrick Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
Patrick Burke said via Twitter he was satisfied with how the Jays handled the situation.
``Combined discipline with education to ensure everyone learns from this,'' he tweeted.