Sep 18, 2012

By Bob Komsic

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Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar has been suspended for three games.

He played Saturday’s home game against Boston with a homophobic slur written in Spanish under his eyes.

The suspension was jointly agreed to by the Blue Jays, Escobar, Major League Baseball and the players’ union.

Escobar will also undergo sensitivity training and participate in an outreach initiative “to help educate society about sensitivity and tolerance to others based on their sexual orientation.”

Escobar’s lost salary will be donated by the Blue Jays to ”You Can Play” and the ”Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation”.

“The Blue Jays want to reaffirm that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. The club looks forward to supporting the efforts of You Can Play and GLAAD to help promote education for players and fans alike and to help keep language like this out of the game and society,” the club said in a statement.

“There’s no chance nobody noticed,” said Cyd Zeigler Jr., the co-founder of, an online gay-sports publication. “I think this speaks not just about Escobar, but about the team.”

“Of course another player could have stopped him, Zeigler said, ”But there’s still this locker-room mentality with guys.”

Even if the insult is not mean to be homophobic, people who use them “don’t realize that these words are rooted in the notion that gay is bad,” Zeigler added.

He was willing to give Escobar the benefit of the doubt on one hand, but still felt he should know better.

“I’m less offended by his potential homophobia than by his stupidity,” Zeigler said.

“It really, really shocks me that nobody caught it,” said Bruce Kidd, a kinesiology professor at the University of Toronto who researches human rights in sport.

The challenge, Kidd said, “is to turn this into a teachable moment for the player, for the team, for Blue Jays fans and North American sports culture.”

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