Blue Jays suspend Yunel Escobar three games for homophobic slur

Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar's eye black during Saturday's game against the Red Sox....

Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar's eye black during Saturday's game against the Red Sox. (james_in_to/Flickr)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:13 PM ET

NEW YORK - As press conferences go, maybe something was lost in the translation.

There were plenty of apologies from shortstop Yunel Escobar.

There were a ton of “I’m sorry,” uttered by Yunel Escobar.

There were also these gems ...

“I don’t have anything against homosexuals,” Escobar said after being suspended three games by the Blue Jays, who consulted with commissioner Bud Selig and the Player’s Association Tuesday before the suspension was handed out.

Escobar had written in Spanish the phrase “Tu Ere Maricon” (which translates to "You are a f-----") on hie eye black sticker and wore it on the field Saturday during the Boston Red Sox-Jays game at the Rogers Centre.

And that slur cost him $87,209 U.S. Escobar’s three-day salary will be donated to the You Can Play Project and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD.)

You Can Play is run by Patrick Burke, son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

“It was just a joke,” Escobar said.

Who was Escobar’s message directed towards?

“No one.”

What did he mean?

“Nothing.”

Jays coach Luis Rivera was interpreting questions from the media for Escobar and Robbie Guerra of the Player’s Association was translating Escobar’s answers into English Tuesday afternoon before the Jays-Yankees game was rained out meaning a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday.

“It’s said around amongst Latinos,” Escobar told his audience. “It’s not something meant to be offensive. For us, it doesn’t have the significance in the way that’s being interpreted. “It’s a word used often within teams, a word without meaning.”

Maybe something was lost in the relay from Escobar’s Spanish to Guerra’s English.

“I didn’t think that something like that would cause problems,” Escobar said of the fire storm which began Monday afternoon via twitter. “I didn’t think it would offend anybody.”

Escobar was contrite. He said he had friends who are gay ... the person who decorates his house, the person who cuts his hair. He said that they were not as offended.

“I would like to ask to apologize to all those who have been offended by this,” Escobar said.

Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, manager John Farrell, Rivera, Guerra and Escobar addressed the media in a 28-minute press conference Tuesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

“What came out through all of this is the lack of education,” said Anthopoulos. “It’s not an issue in sports it’s an issue in life. It’s clear the problem isn’t going away and this is an example.”

Anthopoulos said no further suspension would come from Major League Baseball after he and Escobar met with the commissioner Tuesday morn.

The Escobar answers were non-answers for the most part.

“I didn’t mean to say anything,” Escobar said. “It was not something I intended to be offensive. It’s something I put on the sticker on my face.

It’s not something meant to be offensive. For Latins, it didn’t have the significance the same way it’s interpreted. It’s a word used often with teens.

“There’s a different understanding in the Latin community.” Farrell said Escobar often writes motivational messages on his eye-black stickers, so others in the dugout didn’t notice it.

“It’s frequently done on his part, no one paid attention to it,” Farrell said. “The size of the lettering is so small that if you were to view it properly, you’d have to be basically looking in his eyes.”

Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was suspended two weeks without pay after he was accused of making homophobic comments at a San Francisco

Giants-Braves game on April 23 in San Francisco. McDowell had to go through sensitivity training.

Whether he hits the game-winning home run in the World Series, Escobar will always be mentioned as the player who wore “Tu Ere Maricon.”

“It’s been a terrible experience in my life and career,” Escobar said. “It’s something I’m sorry for and something I won’t do again.”


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