Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar caused an uproar after calling Atlanta Braves pitcher Jason Motte a ‘faggot’ for striking him out.
The incident occurred during a game Wednesday (17 May) and led to both benches being cleared.
Pillar’s initial explanation after the game drew even more criticism.
‘It was immature. It was stupid. It was uncalled for. It’s part of the game. It’s…I’m a competitive guy. You know, heat of the moment. Obviously I’m going to do whatever I need to do to reach out and apologize. He didn’t do anything wrong. It was on me.’
He made no mention of the LGBTI community at that time and said such slurs were ‘part of the game’ when in fact Major League Baseball has a zero tolerance policy.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league is investigating the incident ‘to determine whether and what discipline is appropriate.’
Pillar posted a more complete apology on social media today: ‘Last night, following my at-bat in the 7th inning, I used inappropriate language towards Braves pitcher Jason Motte,’ he wrote. ‘By doing so I had just helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today. I’m completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the fans, my teammates and the Blue Jays organization in this position. I have apologized personally to Jason Motte, but also need to apologize to the Braves organization and their fans, and most importantly, to the LGBTQ community for the lack of respect I displayed last night.
‘This is not who I am and will use this as an opportunity to better myself.’
The Blue Jays also issued a statement today saying they are ‘extremely disappointed by the comments made by Kevin Pillar.
‘In no way is this kind of behavior accepted of tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we strive to be. We would like to extend our own apologies to all fans, Major League Baseball and especially the LGBTQ community.
‘We know Kevin to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field.’