NEW YORK - Alex Anthopoulos made phone calls to leaders of You Can Play and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation on Wednesday morning.
“I told both groups that we’re not going to hold a press conference, wash our hands and be done with this,” the Blue Jays general manager said at Yankee Stadium. “I asked both group to tell us how best to proceed.”
Shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended three games by the Jays after meeting with commissioner Bud Selig and the players association on Tuesday. Escobar wrote the homophobic slur “Tu Ere Maricon,” on his eye black sticker and wore it at the Rogers Centre for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.
His pay for the three games — $87,209 US — will be given to the two groups.
How did someone in the Jays dugout not notice the offensive messages?
“He’s always writing something, I didn’t notice,” said Edwin Encarnacion. “We use that word every day in our culture. It’s not offensive. I don’t think Yunel did it to offend anyone.”
Manager John Farrell said Escobar is frequently writing a message across his eye black, usually motivational.
“When I saw the picture Monday afternoon, I was surprised, disappointed,” Farrell told reporters. “I knew this was going to be a big issue.”
Another veteran Latin in uniform, who didn’t want his name used, said that while “maricon” is often used among Latin players and is not considered an insult, he added “that’s our country, we’re not in our country any longer. The team should have told him he could not do that.”
Farrell said Escobar failed to meet a player’s “minimum level of professionalism,” or show respect for the game and respect for the fans who watch it.
Farrell suggested he will “strongly recommend” to Escobar: ‘Don’t write anything’ on his eye black stickers.
Anthopoulos said both he and officials in the commissioner’s office were concerned about educating Escobar and other players.
The Jays GM told The Fan 590 that Escobar was “stupid, selfish, shameful, insensitive.”
“He made his own bed and he knows it,” Anthopoulos said. “I’m not going to feel sorry for him. He did what he did. He knows what he did was incredibly stupid and wrong.”
Anthopoulos said he considered releasing Escobar.
“In my house, we call (each other) that word every 20 seconds,” said Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. “I’ve got three kids. For us, it’s like ‘What’s up, bro? What’s up, dude?’ It’s how you say it and to who you say it.
“That’s our country. We have to respect this country. Sometimes for us it’s funny, for other people it’s not.”