Yunel Escobar was greeted with a chorus of boos in his first home game with the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday night. Escobar was suspended for three games after writing an anti-gay slur on his eye-black two weeks ago and played his first game in Tampa Bay.
“He understands whatever comes his way is part of the process,” Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told CTV Toronto. “He made a terrible mistake and is going to have to be accountable.”
Blue Jays manager John Farrell had contemplated keeping Escobar out of the game, but decided against it. Escobar caught the ceremonial first pitch from David Testo, an openly gay former MLS soccer player and a board member for You Can Play, an advocacy group for LGBT athletes.
In addition to the suspension, Escobar’s salary during his ban, $82,000, was donated to GLAAD and You Can Play. Prior to the game, Escobar also sat down with YCP’s founder Patrick Burke and openly gay long distance runner Jose Estevez from Boston College.
“I think it put a face on the issue for Yunel,” Burke said of the meeting. “I think it humanized the issue of gay athletes for Yunel and I think Jose did a great job today…I think he did a stupid thing but I think he has learned from it.”
“He’s really sorry for what he did and I felt the sincerity when I was talking to him,” Estevez added.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Blue Jays lost 6-0 to the Yankees – further adding insult to…insults.