Last night, Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar appeared to have called Braves reliever Jason Motte a “fag” or “faggot” after Motte quick-pitched him to strike him out swinging and end the seventh inning.
MLB is investigating the incident between Pillar and Motte, but Pillar’s outburst was pretty obvious:
Benches cleared after Pillar’s outburst, though no brawl broke out.
Pillar told reporters after the game that he is frustrated with himself and “the way this series has been going.” The Jays have so far lost all three games of the four-game series against the Braves. Via Yahoo Sports:
It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for. It’s part of the game, it’s just, I’m a competitive guy and a 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 the didn’t do anything wrong, it was all me. Obviously something to learn from, something to move on from. Don’t let it define me but really I think it was just frustration from coming off a really good homestand and really just not even being in any of these ball games, just coming out flat and not being able to build on what we were able to build on against Seattle.
Everyone gets frustrated and says dumb shit sometimes, but it doesn’t have to come out with a gay slur. Whether Pillar was at his breaking point or not, he wouldn’t have used that particular word if he weren’t comfortable with it.
Last night’s game between the Blue Jays and Braves was chippy, as the whole series in Cobb County has been. Braves slugger Freddie Freeman left the game in the fifth inning after being hit on the hand by a pitch; seven Braves batters have been hit by pitches since Monday night’s game.
The situation between the Jays and Braves again came to a head in the eighth inning after Jose Bautista did one of his signature bat flips on a solo home run off Eric O’Flaherty to bring the Jays to 8-4 instead of 8-3. Benches cleared, but things simmered down before Joey Bats took another right hook to the face.
It’s unclear what, if any, type of punishment Pillar could be facing for the league if it is determined that he did call Motte a faggot. MLB’s made a big push in recent years, beginning with the hiring of Billy Bean in 2014, to make it clear that anti-LGBTQ discrimination will not be tolerated in the league. The league might look at the situation with Pillar as an opportunity to send a message to the rest of its players.
In 2012, the Blue Jays suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar three games for wearing eye black with “tu ere maricon” (“you are a faggot”) written in it and donated the salary he would have earned to the You Can Play campaign and GLAAD.
In 2011, the NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 for directing a gay slur at a referee, and last year the NHL suspended Andrew Shaw for one game and fined him $5,000 for directing a gay slur at an on-ice official.
Nonetheless, the Jays and Braves meet again tonight to finish up the series. We’ll all be lucky when both teams have moved on.