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UPDATE: Homophobic stunt disappointing: Burke

UPDATE: Homophobic stunt disappointing: Burke

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Toronto Blue Jays player apologizes, says 'I have friends who are gay'

UPDATE -- 8:15pm: Patrick Burke sees a silver lining in Yunel Escobar’s homophobic stunt.
 
The co-founder of the You Can Play project, which aims to make sports teams safer environments for gay players, says the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the incident shows there has been progress in the traditionally homophobic world of professional sport.
 
“This incident is incredibly disappointing,” Burke says. “But out of that, we’ve gotten to see a very positive reaction that we wouldn’t have seen five or 10 years ago.”
 
Toronto Blue Jays management will direct some of Escobar’s salary to You Can Play. Burke says he’s not yet sure what they’ll do with the cash.
 
“We don’t have a firm plan for it because we weren’t expecting it,” he says.
 
Still, he has a few ideas.
 
“The Latino community, the LGBT community and the sports community -- I would love to take that money and find a way to bring all three together somehow,” he says.
 
Escobar said he is willing to meet with Burke in Toronto.
 
“I will move heaven and earth to get there to sit down with him if that’s what he thinks will help,” Burke says.
 
As a straight ally, Burke believes it’s important he bring a gay athlete or two along with him to get the message across that homophobia in sports is not okay.
 
Burke says Escobar participated in casual homophobia, and he wants to explain to Escobar that what he did was wrong.
 
“What you saw in Escobar’s press conference was the translated version of ‘I didn’t mean it that way.’”
 
However, Burke says he is pleased that Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays took steps to rectify the situation. But he won’t say whether he thinks Escobar’s three-game suspension is sufficient. “My focus, as always, is on the education side of things, not so much the discipline.
 
“We’ve seen a real tipping point in the sports world in the last few years -- in the culture as a whole,” he says.

...

Yunel Escobar suspended without pay

UPDATE -- 5:15pm:
The Toronto Blue Jays will suspend Yunel Escobar for three games without pay starting Sept 18.
 
The Jays, currently in New York City for a three-game series, will direct Escobar’s forfeited salary to the You Can Play project and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
 
“I’m sorry this happened, and it will never happen again in my career,” Escobar, accompanied by a translator and speaking in Spanish, said in a press conference.

Blue Jays management, not Major League Baseball, made the decision to suspend Escobar.
 
The Jays' general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, stresses the importance of education. He says he believes the suspension won’t fix the problem, but it is a start. “I don’t know that there’s a right way to deal with these things.”
 
Meanwhile, Escobar says he agrees with the suspension. “I don’t have any problem with that.”
 
Escobar insists that he has nothing against the gay community and that gay people he knows were not offended by his actions. “I have friends who are gay. The person who decorates my house is gay; the person who cuts my hair is gay.”
 
Escobar says the words have a different connotation in Spanish and were not meant to be offensive. “It was a joke,” he says. “It was my idea and it wasn’t directed at anyone in particular.”
 
According to manager John Farrell, no one on the team took notice of the slur because Escobar always writes something on the black tape worn beneath his eyes.
 
“Initially, it’s a surprise from what I know of Yunel as a person,” he says.
 
According to a Blue Jays press release, Escobar will “participate in an outreach initiative to help educate society about sensitivity and tolerance to others based on their sexual orientation.” He will also take part in a sensitivity training program.
 
Escobar says he wants to meet the You Can Play project’s Patrick Burke when he’s back in Toronto.

 

Sept 18, 10am
-- Toronto Blue Jays’ shortstop Yunel Escobar has set the Twitterverse ablaze after a photo was released in which he wore eye-black tape labelled with a homophobic slur.
 
The photo reveals the Spanish words “Tu ere maricon” — “You’re a faggot” in English — printed in white on the black tape worn by Escobar, 29, below his eyes for a game at the Rogers Centre on Sept 16.
 
The episode went unnoticed until the afternoon of Sept 17, when a closeup shot was posted online by fan James Greenhalgh. Major League Baseball is investigating.
 
The Blue Jays issued the following statement:
 
“The Toronto Blue Jays do not support discrimination of any kind nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday’s game. The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter.”
 
The statement also reveals that general manager Alex Anthopoulos will attend a news conference about the issue this afternoon in New York City, where the team is beginning a three-game series. Escobar, manager John Farrell and coach Luis Rivera are also expected to attend.
 
At this point, it’s unknown whether Escobar wrote the words himself or whom they were directed toward.
 
Cuban-born Escobar has been with the Blue Jays since 2010.

Unlike some Major League Baseball teams, the Toronto Blue Jays have not taken part in the It Gets Better campaign.

Xtra is following this story. 
  

Comments

Don't Go See, Don't Buy Blue Jays
Oh but “I have friends who are gay. The person who decorates my house is gay; the person who cuts my hair is gay.” Ass wipe. They aren't friends, they are people who work for you. Or is he saying he's such a jerk that he must pay anyone to be his friend, cause I'd buy that as well. I'm disgusted with the organization on a number of levels. Why is a U.S. group getting money for something that happened with a Canadian team in Canada? And 3 games is like saying hey go have along weekend to relax. His sensitivity training should happen in Toronto with a Toronto org. And yes I agree with many others, I'm not willing to believe others who understood the language didn't see it. In fact if he was always writing stuff it would be sort of a typical thing to look to see what he wrote that day. Not ignore it. I was already luke warm on baseball and the blue jays, doubt I'd take a gift ticket to go now. I hope others will also just say screw that team.
next time
perhaps next time he feels inclined to write on his head, "space for rent" might be more appropriate.
Correction #2
Also, the black paint under his left eye says "Maricon" (aka "faggot"), NOT "Maricaon", as originally written in the article.
Correction
“Tu Ere Maricaon” should have a [sic] after "Ere" since the proper way of conjugating the Spanish verb "ser" ("to be") with "tu" is "eres" (with an s).
Not just Escobar
Actually, a Cuban asshole but I digress. Fact is he had this under his eyes for all of Saturdays game yet no one on the Blue Jays bench, many fluent in Spanish, did anything about it. A fan had to release the picture on Twitter. The coaches and players who speak and read Spanish did nothing about it. Escobar bears the responsibility but it is equally shared by those who could have stopped it. Did they perhaps find it funny?
get it correct
The asshole is actually Cuban not Mexican.
Please send emails to Blue Jays
you too can send your love to this mexican asshole at http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/help/email.jsp?c_id=tor&primarySubject=Other&secondarySubject=Other&dest=fanfeedback@bluejays.com
Hot off the presses?
Though this is about 12 hours late, it's good that you guys are following this story. Good to put a face to the hate sometimes.. Hopefully this disgusting and immature display of ignorance does not go unpunished!
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