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Kolby Solinsky

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What Is Baseball's Role in Escobar's Homophobia?

Posted: 09/18/2012 4:50 pm

Well, well, Yunel. It looks like the whole, "It's okay, they just get confused when I speak really fast in Spanish" thing doesn't work for eye black.

What really is there to say about Escobar's three-game suspension? He's been suspended. Well, I'd certainly hope so. It's hard to even describe Escobar's homophobic statement without an expletive, and I come from the Bill Cosby school of, "If you have to swear, it means you're not trying hard enough."

(*Mr. Cosby never actually said that, but it's what I imagine him telling Rudy.)

Wildly disappointing. Insensitive. Odd. Perplexing. Ridiculous. How else can you describe it?

On Monday, Escobar's eye black reportedly read the Spanish equivalent of: "You are a faggot." The actual words? Tu ere maricon. According to the Toronto Star, the words could mean a rotunda of things, but most (okay, virtually all) are offensive to somebody. It doesn't always mean something homophobic, though, or else Escobar's suspension would have no doubt extended beyond trois jours. (And, it may still, because ESPN is also investigating the shortstop.)

A University of Toronto professor who the Toronto Star spoke to said she would take it as, "You are like a girl. You are weak." Fair enough. You hear that on the golf course all the time. "Nice putt, Sally," you say. Insensitive, but not criminal.

But, the professor admitted, it normally means the first one. The really offensive one. The one with the word that makes you cringe, or makes your jaw drop, when you actually hear someone say it out loud.

So, Escobar either had to know it would be read like that, or he actually meant that.

The real question then becomes, "Why the hell did Escobar feel that was necessary?"

Or, "How dumb can you be?"

Okay, let's give him the benefit of the doubt, and say that he wasn't trying to throw out the real "F" word. Maybe he was just trying to be vulgar.

Still... why? Was it an inside joke with his bros in Havana? As Gawker asks, did he lose a bet?

And, if he did intend to say what your impulse says he did... well then, Christ.

That wouldn't be like Wayne Simmonds's use of the word toward Sean Avery last year, which was in the middle of a professional hockey game and was somehow caught by interrogating cameramen.

(*I'm sorry to say it to anyone who has never played hockey, but that word is used in excess of 30 times every 60 minutes, whether the players are 15 years old or 35. Am I saying it's right, or justified? No, of course not. It should be eradicated. Extinguished. But, Simmonds said it in impulse and he's one of hundreds that has reportedly done it, or continues to do it. He didn't write it in chalk on the front of his helmet for all to see. The situations are different, but neither should be allowed.)

It wouldn't even be like when former Sportsnet anchor Damian Goddard spoke out against gay marriage, or spoke in unity with those who did (since we have to clarify).

But, that's not like this. After all, one of two major political parties in the United States (and, in Canada, too) agree with Goddard. That means Escobar could be suspended from baseball, but still think in line with government.

There's really not much to say about what Escobar said, or tried to say. Truth is, we won't even hear what he did mean, because he, Major League Baseball, and the Jays will want to distance themselves from it.

The game will try and brush over it like it's dirt on home plate, and that's the real problem here. It's not the incident. That exists with Yunel, and Yunel alone. But, it's how the game handles it that matters.

Yunel's punishment will be having to answer for it, or be known for it. It's a disappointing incident. A blackmark, literally.

At the end of the day, Escobar's eye black gives us no insight into some kind of underground, homophobic baseball culture, just like Manny Pacquiao's stance against gay marriage doesn't apply to other boxers and Brett Favre's foray with technology doesn't mean all football players text photos of their Purple People Eaters.

Simmonds's use of the "F" word, though, does give us some insight into the vulgar nature of hockey.

So, which is worse? Which is more important? Which deserves our attention?

And, how do we fix the problem, because a three-game punishment won't.

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*This was originally posted on White Cover Magazine. Click the link to read more about the Toronto Blue Jays and the 2013 MLB Season.

 

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