Baseball athlete Yunel Escobar has been a controversial player before, but not like this. Last week, Escobar was apart of something that goes beyond baseball.
The professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays was seen wearing a message on his eye black during a game last Saturday. The message was a gay slur printed in Spanish. It was originally found by a Jays fan who was taking pictures from behind the Toronto dugout. The fan posted the picture on Flickr which started an uproar on the internet.
Escobar, who is from La Habana, Cuba, was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball on Tuesday. According to the team, he will also be required to attend sensitivity training.
It is estimated he will lose $83,000 as a result of the three-day suspension, which will hardly make a dent in his two-year $10 million contract.
The Blue Jays held a team meeting on Tuesday to inform the other players of Escobar’s punishment.
Escobar recently spoke at a news conference through an interpreter. He apologized for the slur, but would not go into detail on why he did it, saying it was just a joke and was not meant to offend anyone. He admitted that the phrase is frequently used in baseball clubhouses and has no meaning.
This is disturbing to me. Whether it was intended as a joke or not, Escobar had no right displaying something so offensive in public. I am a Christian and, as such, we are called to love one another unconditionally.
Escobar was not showing that kind of love. I think an appropriate saying for this incident would be “actions speak louder than words.”
Escobar went on to say he has nothing against homosexuals and even listed some of his friends who are gay.
We cannot know for sure what’s true and what isn’t in Escobar’s testimony. What I do know is if the phrase is used as frequently in clubhouses as he said it is, MLB has a huge problem.
Why didn’t his teammates say anything? Did no one see it? Were they that oblivious to what was going on? I highly doubt it.
Even though Escobar is known for writing both inspirational and humorous statements on his eye black, I bet at least one player or coach was aware of the situation.
If it is widely used across professional baseball, the team must have known the meaning behind the slur.
A true team is accountable to one another. The Jays don’t sound like that kind of team. Someone should have stepped up and told Escobar what he was doing was wrong, no excuses.