Monday 21st May, 2018
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Blue Jays CF Pillar draws two-game ban for slur

Sports Xchange - Friday 19th May, 2017

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar was suspended two games for screaming a homophobic slur after striking out against Atlanta Braves pitcher Jason Motte.

"I'm completely and utterly embarrassed," Pillar wrote via Twitter, "and feel horrible to have put the fans, my teammates and the Blue Jays organization in this position. I have apologized to Jason Motte, but also need to apologize to the Braves organization and their fans, and most importantly, to the LGBTQ community for the lack of respect I displayed last night. This is not who I am and will use this as an opportunity to better myself."

Pillar's salary for the two games will be donated, per Major League Baseball, which worked directly with the Blue Jays to determine the punishment Thursday.

The Blue Jays issued a statement of apology directed to its fan base and the LGBTQ community.

"In no way is this kind of behavior accepted or tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we strive to be. We know Kevin to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field," the statement read.

Pillar's use of the slur on Wednesday was in response to a quick pitch from Motte, with the benches emptying after the incident.

Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed early Thursday that the league would take action if an investigation warranted.

Pillar admitted to the Toronto Star after Wednesday's contest that his in-game comment was "immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for.

"... It's part of the game, it's just, I'm a competitive guy and heat of the moment. Obviously, I'm going to do whatever I've got to do to reach out and apologize and let him know he didn't do anything wrong, it was all me."

The Blue Jays suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games after he wrote a homophobic slur in Spanish on his eye black in 2012. Escobar was ordered to undergo sensitivity training and his three-game salary was donated to the "You Can Play" project, which works to ensure athletes are treated the same regardless of sexual orientation.

The tension in Wednesday's game didn't end with Pillar's outburst, however. The benches emptied again in the eighth inning after Toronto's Jose Bautista emphatically flipped his bat following a home run, with second baseman Jace Peterson saying something to the slugger as he rounded the bases.

"That's something making the game tough to watch," Braves pitcher Eric O'Flaherty said of Bautista's celebration. "It's turned into look-at-me stuff. He hit a home run with (the Braves holding) a five-run lead and throws the bat around. I'm just tired of it. I've seen it from him enough."

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