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NEW YORK -- The Toronto Blue Jays say "no" to homophobic slurs, fining and suspending its star shortstop for writing an anti-gay slur on his eye black.
After meeting with Major League Baseball and the Players Association, Blue Jays officials livestreamed a news conference at Yankee Stadium to announce the punishment and to answer questions as the scandal escalated.
The player, Yunel Escobar, was suspended for three days from the club, and his pay during that period was being donated to GLAAD and a team-affiliated charity. MSNBC reported that the player makes about $3 million per year.
Escobar was placed front and center at the news conference, where reporters grilled him and the team about the incident caught by a fan and a photographer for Getty Images.
In a photo widely shared around the world, Escobar can be seen wearing eye black with a Spanish slur that translates to "You're a faggot." The Cuban player, who only spoke in Spanish at the news conference even though he appeared to understand questions given in English, denied making an anti-gay slur against anybody in particular. His translator said he "did not mean to offend anyone."
The media, which included Spanish speakers, didn't seem to buy Escobar's explanation that the controversial phrase could be translated differently from culture to culture.
Escobar called his decision to write the slur on his eye black "a great error," but didn't seem particularly remorseful. If anything, he appeared condescending, telling the media that he had "gay friends," including the guy that decorates his house and the guy that cuts his hair.
The Blue Jays also issued this statement:
"Yunel will participate in an outreach initiative to help educate society about sensitivity and tolerance to others based on their sexual orientation," the Blue Jays said in a statement. "His participation will be conducted in consultation with all parties involved. Escobar will also participate in a sensitivity training program in accordance with the Toronto Blue Jays and Major League Baseball.
"The Blue Jays want to reaffirm that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated."
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