Major League Baseball left no question about its position on players using gay slurs, suspending Oakland A’s outfielder Matt Joyce for two games for directing a gay slur at a fan.
According to ESPN, the A’s will donate $54,000 of Joyce’s lost salary to PFLAG, an organization that helps family members of LGBT people, and advocates for acceptance and understanding.
The two-game suspension matches that which Kevin Pillar received from the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this season for the same infraction. Just as Joyce did, Pillar offered an apology along with the suspension.
The Associated Press received this statement from the A’s, who have hosted an LGBT Pride Night for several seasons:
The Oakland Athletics are very disappointed by the comments Matt Joyce made to a fan during the eighth inning of last night's game. This language is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our team. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and expect our entire organization to live up to higher standards. We appreciate that Matt is contrite about his conduct and know he will learn from this incident.
Major League Baseball has now set, and reinforced several times, that using a gay slur will get a player a multi-game suspension, without pay. We at Outsports have said for years that the only way to curb the use of this language is to take away playing time. Thankfully MLB, unlike the NHL, inherently understands that. It’s not surprising given MLB has hired openly gay former player Billy Bean as a vice-president in the front office.
Joyce issued a thorough apology that seemed genuine and sincere. We hope he and his teammates learn from this incident and do everything they can to make sure a gay player with the A’s feels he can come out in the locker room.