Already scheduled for a road trip to New York, the last thing a player wants to do is wind up on the radar of the commissioners office.
However, that is exactly the case for Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar, as the commissioners office is looking into a situation stemming from Saturday’s game against Boston. Photographs taken by a fan at the game, and later confirmed on photos taken by Getty Images, confirm that Escobar was wearing stick-on eye black patches with the discriminatory message “Tu Ere Maricon” written across the two patches. Loosely translated to English, the phrase means, “you are a fa–ot.”
MLB Spokeman Pat Courtney has confirmed that the commissioner’s office is taking the matter seriously and that they will look into to thoroughly. Obviously, the commissioners office will investigate whether Escobar knowing took the field with such a defamatory statement in full view of fans.
For their part, the Blue Jays have been vocal about the incident, saying that Escobar, manager John Farrell, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos will be available for the media prior to Tuesday game with the Yankees. The club also offered the following statement:
“The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter,” the Blue Jays said in a statement Monday night, adding they “do not support discrimination of any kind nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday’s game.”
Major League Baseball has shown in the past that such conduct will not be tolerated. Last season, it suspended Braves pitching coach for two weeks following lewd hand gestures perceived to be homophobic toward San Francisco Giants fans. The league also suspended Braves reliever John Rocker in 2000 following comments made in a Sports Illustrated interview that were homophobic, xenophobic (dislike or fear of people from other countries), and racist.
Whether MLB deems that Escobar’s actions deserve a suspension is another matter. Regardless of whether or not he knew of the message or not, it is likely that MLB is going to come down on somebody for the remark.
UPDATE: Escobar has received a three-game suspension from Major League Baseball for the slur on his eye black. Escbar maintained that the remark was not defamatory in nature, but simply a joke gone awry between Hispanic ballplayers. Regardless, he accepted his role and accepted his punishment for the incident. The suspension will be effective immediately, meaning that Escobar will miss the upcoming Yankee series.