Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Superman" Crashes.

Kevin Pillar has been one of the most popular Toronto Blue Jays over the last couple of years.  He regularly makes spectacular catches in the outfield, and this year has been one of the team's best hitters.  But his popularity may take a hit after last night's game against the Atlanta Braves.  After striking out to Braves reliever Jason Motte in the seventh inning Pillar threw a number of curses at Motte, which reportedly included a homophobic slur.  After the game Pillar apologised, but Major League Baseball is investigating the incident, and sanctions may be possible. 

This is sure to remind some Blue Jays fans of Yunel Escobar.  During a 2012 game then Jays shortstop Escobar had a Spanish language homophobic slur written in his eye black.  The team suspended him for three games, and donated his salary for those games to gay rights groups.  There would later be speculation that Escobar's tenure with the team was cut short due to his behaviour, as he was traded to the Miami Marlins late that year. His contract was set to continue into the 2013 season, with options for 2014 and 2015. 

If Pillar were to be suspended for this incident, even if presumably only for two or three games, it would just add to the woes of the Jays, who have blown the momentum they gained with their recent five game winning streak.  It may also have an effect on the marketing of the team, given that Pillar has played a prominent role in that marketing.

How many gay players are there in the majors?  No one knows.  You can be sure that incidents like this won't encourage them to come out while they're players.  Such incidents may also discourage gay youth from considering a baseball career.  A lot has changed in pro sports in recent years regarding the way such things are treated, but the actual climate on the field is still questionable.

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