Toronto's Pillar apologizes for homophobic slur
New York (AFP) – Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar apologized Thursday for yelling a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves pitcher Jason Motte after striking out, an incident being investigated by Major League Baseball.
Pillar struck out to end the seventh inning in Wednesday’s 8-4 loss at Atlanta and, feeling he was quick pitched by Motte, screamed the slur at the mound in a confrontation that caused both teams to empty the benches.
Pillar, a 28-year-old American, gave a general apology after the game, saying, “It was immature. It was stupid. It was uncalled for. It’s part of the game. It’s just, I’m a competitive guy and heat of the moment… He didn’t do anything wrong. It was all me.”
On Thursday, Pillar posted a statement on his Twitter account expressing deeper regrets to the gay community and remorse for his remark.
“Last night, following my at-bat in the seventh inning, I used inappropriate language towards Braves pitcher Jason Motte,” Pillar said. “By doing so I had just helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports, or anywhere in society today.
“I’m completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the fans, my teammates and the Blue Jays organization in this position. I have apologized personally to Jason Motte, but also need to apologize to the Braves organization and their fans, and most importantly, to the LGBTQ community for the lack of respect I displayed last night. This is not who I am and I will use this as an opportunity to better myself.”
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins went from Toronto to Atlanta to help deal with the aftermath of the comment and the team issued a statement saying it was “extremely disappointed” in Pillar’s comments.
“In no way is this kind of behavior accepted or tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we strive to be,” the team statement said. “We would like to extend our apologies to all fans, Major League Baseball and especially the LGBQT community.
“We know Kevin to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field.”
The Blue Jays suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games after he wrote a homophobic slur in Spanish in black makeup under his eyes in 2012.
Escobar was ordered to undergo sensitivity training and his three-game salary was donated to the “You Can Play” project, which works to ensure athletes are treated the same regardless of sexual orientation.