Baseball player's anti-gay slur sparks outrage, protests

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada — Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar took to the diamond Saturday during a game with the Boston Red Sox with “You are a faggot” written in Spanish on his eye black strips.

A close-up photo heavily circulated online in social media showed the words “Tu ere maricon” — Spanish for “You’re a faggot” — on the black tape.

The photo has generated a flurry of reaction on social media websites, mostly critical of Escobar, some urging that he be suspended for the rest of the season, some urging fans to reserve judgment until “context” became available.

One Flickr user, whose “privileged seat near the Blue Jays dugout and allows me a close up of some pretty awesome moments,” wrote, “This one, however, is really disappointing,” after capturing the above photo.

“When you hear or see something wrong, it’s up to everyone to let people know that that’s not right. “That’s gay”, “You’re gay”, “You’re a fag”, “You’re a faggot” are not acceptable insults in 2012. They are slurs and we need to get rid of them. When our sports heroes proliferate their usage, our progress takes a step back.”

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos refused requests to comment, although a spokesperson for the ball club confirmed that the team will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon in New York, before their scheduled game against the Yankees.

Escobar, 29, was slated to play in Sunday’s starting lineup, but was scratched before game-time — a team spokesperson said Escobar had the flu.

The Blue Jays released a statement Monday night, and said, “The Toronto Blue Jays do not support discrimination of any kind nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday’s game. The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter.”

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