Saying it was 'an unacceptable message' Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday (18 September) suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games for having an anti-gay slur written under his eyes during a game over the weekend.
Escobar had the Spanish words ‘Tu Ere Maricon’ written on an eyeblack sticker which translated into English typically means ‘You are a faggot.’
The player told reporters Tuesday that it had just been 'a joke' then added that he deserved his punishment.
'I agree with the suspension. I don't have any problem with that. I'm embarrassed,' Escobar said. 'I'm sorry for my actions of the other day. I don't have anything against homosexuals. I have friends who are gay. It’s just something that’s been said amongst the Latinos. It’s not something that’s meant to be offensive.'
The message went widely unnoticed until season ticket holder James Greenhalgh posted a zoomed in picture online.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement: 'I consistently say that baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and that I expect those who represent Major League Baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game's diverse fan base deserves. Mr. Escobar has admitted that his actions were a mistake, and I am hopeful he can use this unfortunate situation as an opportunity to educate himself and others that intolerance has no place in our game or society.'
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation President Herndon Graddick had this to say about the suspension: 'Today's actions show that MLB and the Toronto Blue Jays are committed to creating an environment that all fans and families can enjoy, not a place where discriminatory language and anti-gay attitudes are accepted.'