After arriving in a trade from Atlanta in July 2010, Yunel Escobar's tenure in Toronto got off to a decent start. He hit a grand slam in just his third appearance for the Blue Jays, following this up with another home run in his next game.
Escobar continued to play well enough to convince the Blue Jays to sign him to a two-year contract extension during the 2011 campaign. He would finish that season with a .290/.369/.413 slash line, .782 OPS and .974 fielding percentage.
The trade to the Blue Jays had seemed to give the Havana, Cuba native a new lease of life after questions about his lack of professionalism in Atlanta. As per a report from Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there had been criticism from fellow Braves players and coaching staff regarding his poor work ethic.
However, even this could not prepare the Blue Jays for what was to come in 2012, during a game versus the Red Sox. Escobar was caught with a phrase written on his eye black, which was the Spanish interpretation of a homophobic slur.
Escobar apologized, claiming it was just a bit of 'banter' between him and fellow Latin players, with no offence meant towards the gay community or anyone else. As per John Lott of the National Post, other Latin players supported his explantion at the time.
The 2005 second round draft pick was suspended for three games, with his equivalent salary donated to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and You Can Play. However, the damage was done.
Even if there was no malicious intent, there was no turning back for Escobar in Toronto. He was subsequently traded to the Marlins, after the conclusion of the 2012 season.