Ideas and imagination…unfettered.


“You Are A Asshole”

“You Are A Asshole”

By now you’ve probably heard the hue and cry over Toronto Blue Jays’ shortstop Yunel Escobar’s little on-field stunt that resulted in his 3-game suspension and a lot of anger from members and allies of the LGBT community. His eye-black message Tu Ere Maricon (You Are A Faggot) left a lot of people seeing red.

In a press conference, Escobar stated that, “It was just a joke,” and that, “It was my idea but it wasn’t directed at anyone in particular.” He went on to cap his mea culpa with, “I apologize to the Jays fans and baseball fans in general. It wasn’t anything personal, it was something I always do with the stickers on my eyes.”

He then pulled out the old chestnut of having many gay friends: “I have close friends that are gay. My home decorator is gay, my hair stylist is gay and I have several friends that are gay. And they haven’t felt offended about the situation. This is just a language misunderstanding.”

It’s not just one innocent little stunt, it is a another in a long and seemingly unending barrage of anti-gay slurs that we are confronted with on nearly
a daily basis.

You will notice that nowhere in his statements does he actually apologize to the people that were offended: the LGBT community. He spoke around them and then tried to qualify and his stunt by saying his “gay friends” weren’t offended. I have a feeling his gay friends may be more of the Mr. Snuffleupagus variety that only Escobar can see.

Be that as it may, Escobar was handed a three game suspension and fined $82,000 that will go, in part, to You Can Play, an organization founded by Patrick Burke (son of Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke) to help fight homophobia in sports. You Can Play was also started to honour the memory of Brendan Burke (their brother and son respectively) who was himself involved in hockey and an out gay man. Brendan was killed in a car accident in 2010.

What Escobar clearly doesn’t understand (and I hope with some guidance he soon will) is the pain and insult his little ‘joke’ and jokes like his cause people in the LGBT community. It’s not just one innocent little stunt, it is a another in a long and seemingly unending barrage of anti-gay slurs that we are confronted with on nearly a daily basis.

Personally, I have been listening to this type of language for about 40 years. It wears away on your psyche. It gets inside your brain and festers. It informs how you perceive yourself and your place in the world. It devalues you as a human being to be constantly told you are less than or a pariah or something to be scorned.

Your eye-black could result in black eyes or worse. That’s no joke.

People in the LGBT community have been subjected to this type of language our whole lives. We get it from politicians, religions, pundits, bullies on the playground, the playing field and even in our places of work. There is a good reason the reaction to Escobar’s little stunt was so swift and heated, we have had enough, we are angry and we are not going to tolerate this type of intolerance that is passed off as a joke.

Mr. Escobar, your alleged “meaningless” little prank is just one more stone hurled at the heart and mind of a queer person who must deal with this from many sources on any given day. Your little eye-black message can be just the words needed for someone with great disdain for queer people to lash out in other ways. Your eye-black could result in black eyes or worse. That’s no joke.

Escobar photo credit: Getty images


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