Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar is in trouble for something he wore during a recent game at Rogers Centre.
A Flickr user posted a picture of Escobar, taken at the Jays-Boston Red Sox game on Sept. 15, wearing eyeblack strips bearing a homophobic message in Spanish.
It’s the same thing Benny “The Kid” Paret, a Cuban, is said to have called Emile Griffith at the weigh-in before their 1962 middleweight title fight.
“It is just something that has been said around amongst the Latinos, it’s not something that is meant to be offensive,” Escobar said through a translator before Tuesday’s rained-out Jays game at Yankee Stadium. “It’s a word used often within teams. It’s a word without a meaning.”
Escobar, also from Cuba, often writes messages on his eyeblack patches–so frequently, said Jays manager John Farrell, that no one reads them anymore.
It’s still a situation Escobar and the Jays had to explain their way out of, and not good for either them or the city of Toronto.
Toronto is home to North America’s largest Pride parade as well as the Pride FM station serving the LGBT community and the city is respected for its acceptance of everyone regardless of who or what they are. Little sillies like this make the whole city seem provincial, its view of the world outdated.
The Jays suspended Escobar for three games, but he didn’t mean anyone any harm. The whole thing was a cross-cultural misunderstanding.
So let’s move on. Let’s play two. And win them.