The Toronto Blue Jays suspended Yunel Escobar for three games. He called the episode a "terrible experience." His salary for those three games will be donated to the You Can Play project and GLAAD. That total is nearly $100k. Said Escobar during a press conference on Tuesday (via a translator):
"I don't have anything against homosexuals. I have friends who are gay. In reality, I'd like to ask for [forgiveness from] anyone offended by this. Honestly, I'm going to be going forward with the three-game suspension that's coming forward. The salary for those three days will be donated to You Can Play."
Club manager John Farrell said no one paid attention to it because Escobar does it so often. He even said Escobar always puts an "uplifting" message on the eye black. That is a blatant lie. As I documented earlier today, I can only find one other time when he wore eye black during a game this year, and that likely included a very off-color comment.
"It's just been something that's said around the team," Escobar said via a translator. "It's not something that's meant to be offensive. For us, it didn't have the significance...to the way it's being interpreted. That's a word used often within teams."
He kept saying it wasn't mean to offend anyone. Right. I'm sure he meant to "uplift" his team with it. He was pressed on this issue by reporters at the press conference, as well he should be. He just kept reiterating that it wasn't meant as a bad thing or to offend.
I'm not happy with just three games. A least one sports commentator in Toronto wanted him suspended for the rest of the season. A suspension is important -- the only way to get to these guys is with playing time. The education can be great and super important if done effectively. I'm just not satisfied with seeing him back on the playing field on Friday.
It's the equivalent of one game in the NBA or NHL and one quarter of one game in the NFL.
Still, I'm confident that Patrick Burke and the You Can Play project will get a good result out of all of this. GLAAD has also stepped up big time lately in the sports world, and Aaron McQuade there really knows what he's doing. Escobar isn't exactly a choir boy, so hopefully they can change his stripes a bit. If anyone can, it's them.