Yunel Escobar, suspended for three games for having an anti-gay slur written under his eyes, got booed by some fans Thursday (28 September) in his first home game since his return to the team.
During a game earlier this month, Escobar had the Spanish words ‘Tu Ere Maricon’ written on an eyeblack sticker which translated into English typically means ‘You are a faggot.’
The boos were first heard when the team’s line-up was announced then there were more when Escobar went out to bat during the first inning.
In addition to missing three games, Escobar’s pay for those games – about $82,000 – was donated to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and to You Can Play, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes.
Escobar has said he has nothing against homosexuals, is embarrassed by the incident and agreed with his suspension.
Before Thursday’s game, Escobar met with You Can Play co-founder Patrick Burke and openly gay distance runner Jose Estevez. He then caught the first ceremonial pitch from gay soccer pro David Testo.
‘I think it put a face on the issue for Yunel,’ Burke tells the Associated Press. ‘I think it humanized the issue of gay athletes for Yunel. After meeting with him, I like Yunel. I think he did a stupid thing but I think he has learned from it.’
Added Estevez: ‘He’s really sorry for what he did and I felt the sincerity when I was talking to him.’