A Canadian baseball star could face disciplinary action after photographs were revealed of the shortstop with an anti-gay slur written under his eyes.
Yunel Escobar, who has played for the Blue Jays since 2010, played a game with the Spanish words ‘Tu Ere Maricon’ written on an eyeblack sticker.
The phrase’s most common English translation is ‘You are a faggot.’
The team released a statement late last night (17 September), saying they do not support discrimination ‘nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday’s game.’
They added: ‘The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter.’
General manager Alex Anthopoulos will address the matter in New York today (18 September), adding they should ‘expect’ to see Escobar, Jays’ manager John Farrell and Spanish-speaking coach Luis Rivera to also be in attendance.
It is unclear whether Escobar written on the eyeblack himself, who the message was meant for, or whether the baseball player was a victim of a joke.
Escobar did not play in Sunday’s game due to ‘flu-like symptoms.’
The message went widely unnoticed until season ticket holder James Greenhalgh posted a zoomed in picture online, The Star reports.
The 37-year-old said he was ‘really hurt by this,’ adding: ‘I think equality, especially in a huge city like Toronto, is very important.
‘It’s important that sort of message isn’t seen as acceptable.’
Last year, Major League Baseball suspended Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell for two weeks after he made lewd gestures, perceived to be homophobic, towards fans in San Francisco.
Several baseball teams have taken part in the ‘It Gets Better’ project, which aims to empower gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender teens who feel bullied because of their sexuality.
The San Francisco Giants became the first team to create a video for the campaign, and have since been joined by many other teams including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Red Sox, but not the Blue Jays.