Oakland A’s outfielder Matt Joyce has publicly apologized for directing a gay slur at a fan during his team’s game at the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last night.
Joyce released this statement on Twitter over the course of seven tweets today:
In regard to last night's incident, I first and foremost want to sincerely apologize to the fans, the Oakland A's, MLB and the most importantly the LGBTQ community for my comments and actions. A fan yelled vulgar and obscene words about me and my family and I let my frustrations and emotions get the better of me. I am beyond sorry for the inappropriate language that I used and understand and agree that those words should NEVER come out of someone's mouth no matter the situation. Anyone who knows me will tell you that incident it is not reflective of me as a person, how I treat others, how I live my life and that those hurtful words are not my views. I fully support and hope to help the LGBTQ community with their efforts in being treated fairly and intend to let my actions speak louder than anything more that can be said about this truly regrettable moment.
The A’s are reportedly taking this incident very seriously, and MLB has opened an investigation into the incident, as team spokeswoman Catherine Aker wrote to the Associated Press in an email.
"We have been in contact with the commissioner's office, as this is a workplace code of conduct issue," Aker wrote. "They have opened an investigation."
Earlier this season the Toronto Blue Jays suspended Kevin Pillar for two games for using a gay slur. The NHL and Anaheim Ducks refused to suspend Ryan Getzlaf for using a gay slur during a game.
While it’s commendable that Joyce has owned his mistake and issued a really strong apology, MLB and the A’s have to give him a multigame suspension. They must continue to send the message that this language is not welcome in baseball. For all Joyce knows, the fan he called a gay slur is in fact gay.
It is interesting that so often guys using these slurs say “but I didn’t mean it.” I actually get it, but it’s time to remove this language from the lexicon of every person. “I didn’t mean it” has never been an acceptable excuse.