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Baseball is not supposed to be a place where you discover one of the players on your favourite team was a virtual billboard for a homophobic slur. It's not a place where morals and human rights should come to a head ... and yet here they are doing exactly that.
If you follow @James_in_TO on Twitter, you know first-hand that James is a big Blue Jays fan. He's there nearly every Blue Jays game snapping great pictures and posting them on Twitter for everyone to enjoy.
I've been fortunate to meet him on a few occasions, and he was even generous enough to let me sneak down beside him and catch the last few innings next to him in some spectacular seats at the Rogers Centre.
So I can't even imagine what it must have felt like when he came across a photo of Yunel Escobar with a homophobic slur written in Spanish in eyeblack on his face. James must have been shocked to learn one of the players he watches over 80 times a year had such a shocking phrase on his face.
Suddenly, it's not even about the game of baseball any more.
What once was a fun past time has now transformed into a soapbox for someone to display their beliefs to the entire world. And frankly, it makes me sick.
All I can say is Yunel Escobar should be ashamed of himself. It's absolutely inexcusable to think that somebody could get away with something like that, and thankfully the keen eye of James didn't let it go unnoticed.
Despite some attempts by reporters to get a clear answer as to why Escobar wrote what he did in the first place, we're left with more questions than answers. Frankly, any explanation Yunel could have given would not justify what he did ... it's simply wrong.
Behaviour or language like that may still be used in locker rooms around the league, but that doesn't make it acceptable to bring out onto the field. And how much worse does it make it that a statement like that was displayed clearly across a player's face?
I get that baseball is a sport where emotions are running high. Occasionally, people might say or do things that they wouldn't ordinarily. That it no way excuses people from their actions, but it's understandable how someone might have a temporary lapse in judgement in the heat of the moment. If you asked Brett Lawrie, I'm sure he'd go back and do things differently with Bill Miller.
It's an entirely different thing to the Nth degree that one would not only predispose that they're going to write a homophobic slur on their face, but that fact that they'd go through with it and display it in public to fans, teammates and opposing teams.
A lot of people are wondering why nobody on the coaching staff or anybody on the Blue Jays roster approached Escobar about what he wrote in his eyeblack. John Farrell said he didn't notice it, and all we can really do is give John and the players the benefit of the doubt that they simply didn't know.
Because if they did notice what Yunel did, knew the implications of the statement, and did nothing, then that's almost as bad as Escobar's actions. To sit by idly and watch a teammate do something like that makes me question the integrity within the Blue Jays clubhouse.
Ultimately, it was Yunel Escobar's decision to write that statement on his eyeblack, and he must be held accountable for his own actions. Whether he intended to offend or not, he made a conscious decision the instant he put a pen to his eyeblack stickers.
Earlier this year, a young man streaked across the field at the Rogers Centre with the phrase "YOLO" painted across his chest. Admittedly, at first I thought this self-indulgent display was quite idiotic ... but that was before I found out what "YOLO" actually meant.
This young man's motivation was that he wanted to cross this off his bucket list ... after all, you only live once. In that respect, I kind of admire what he did since he at least had a purpose in mind while running across the field in a Speedo.
As far as I'm concerned, the moment somebody paints a message across their body, they are essentially endorsing that cause ... no matter how trivial or controversial it is. YOLO is a rather harmless statement, but what was painted on Yunel Escobar's face was indefensible, unjustifiable and unforgivable.
Unfortunately, I don't think the translator did Yunel Escobar any favours at that press conference. It seemed like he just kept reiterating the same point over and over again. "I didn't mean to offend anybody" was a common response to many of the questions.
It was tough to gather whether Yunel Escobar had any remorse for his actions. But from what his translator said, it sounded like Escobar didn't think there was anything wrong with what he did at the time ... which in my mind, actually makes it much worse.
There is no context which excuses the use of those words, especially from a public figure like Yunel Escobar. These are not things which are tolerated in the 21st century. Homophobic slurs in the workplace should not be taken lightly, and that includes ones used by professional athletes.
If anything, I think these guys need to be held to a higher standard. Yunel Escobar is a public figure, and what he did reflected badly on himself, the Blue Jays, and baseball in general. It truly is a black eye on the face of the organization.
In some realms, what Yunel Escobar did might even be considered a hate crime; so he should consider himself lucky if he only gets a slap on the wrist with a three-game suspension. The media, the fans, and just people in general won't be as forgiving, though.
I really do commend James for bringing this issue to light, because it couldn't have been easy for him. Since the offending player was a member of the hometown Blue Jays, one can only imagine how afflicted he was to reveal the photo in the first place.
I mean, this is a Blue Jays blog ... and here I am talking about how a Toronto Blue Jays player wrote a homosexual slur on his face. This is now much bigger than the Blue Jays and much bigger than baseball. It's no longer just a small incident; it's an issue of human rights.
Sometimes, I think some people forget just how powerful words can be. And sometimes, they don't even need to be spoken. Words can inspire ... but they also have the power to hurt others.
When the dust settles after all of this, I truly hope that Yunel Escobar realizes how badly those words he wrote can hurt people. Because this is one wound which will take an extremely long time to heal.