Toronto Blue Jays Player Booed In First Home Game Since Wearing Anti-Gay Slur
TORONTO - Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was greeted with a smattering of boos Thursday night during his first home game since writing an anti-gay slur on his eye-black.
A few fans booed when Escobar’s name was announced as the lineups were read for Toronto’s game against the New York Yankees. There was a mix of boos and cheers as Escobar batted in the bottom of the first inning, and he lined out.
Escobar was suspended by the team for three games earlier this month after he wore the slur written in Spanish during a game against Boston. The 29-year-old Cuban infielder later apologized and said he meant it as a joke.
Escobar caught the ceremonial first pitch from David Testo, a former MLS soccer player who is openly gay. Testo is now a board member for You Can Play, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes.
Before the game, Escobar sat down with Jose Estevez, an openly gay distance runner from Boston College, and Patrick Burke, the founder of You Can Play.
Escobar’s lost salary during his three-game ban - about US$82,000 - was to be directed to You Can Play and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Burke said the 45-minute meeting was helpful for all parties.
"I think it put a face on the issue for Yunel," Burke said. "I think it humanized the issue of gay athletes for Yunel and I think Jose did a great job today."
"After meeting with him, I like Yunel," Burke said. "I think he did a stupid thing but I think he has learned from it."