This afternoon Kevin Pillar issued a statement about the homophobic slur he used after striking out in the seventh inning of last night’s game in Atlanta. Here is the statement:
— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) May 18, 2017
The Blue Jays followed this up with a statement of their own:
Statement from the Toronto Blue Jays. pic.twitter.com/ASZuzUM6RM
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 18, 2017
Later Pillar said even more, in speaking with reporters:
Kevin Pillar – "I have the ability to be made an example of, and I'm willing to accept that."
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) May 18, 2017
Pillar: "hopefully people will learn from this... there's no place for this language on field, at home, in club house, with your friends..."— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) May 18, 2017
The statement from the Blue Jays did not initially indicate that any disciplinary action was coming, but at 4:30 PM it was announced that Pillar was being suspended by the team for three games. You may recall that Yunel Escobar was suspended for three games by the club near the end of the 2012 season for playing with a homophobic slur written in Spanish on his eye black.
Escobar’s display, of course, didn’t come in the heat of the moment, so perhaps that’s why the difference in the number of games received. I certainly don’t think it would have been a bad thing if they’d given Pillar three, but I suppose there’s logic there. Perhaps there’s also logic in the fact that the games Escobar missed weren’t terribly meaningful, as the club’s 2012 season was basically over by that point. Sitting Pillar now for two is probably tougher for this club to swallow than it was for the previous regime to sit Escobar for three then. But… uh… let’s not give them too much credit here, or worry about what they’re enduring too much.
Before the suspension was announced, neither written statement was receiving universal acclaim:
— Swagger Iffic (@GirlSwagger101) May 18, 2017
Is that it? Are you serious? https://t.co/Z9oCMGeVcd
— V M (@v_m_phil) May 18, 2017
We know @BlueJays have a relationship with Pride, as Rachel Lauren Clark threw out a first pitch last year. So why this garbage apology?
— V M (@v_m_phil) May 18, 2017
— _ (@historiancole) May 18, 2017
If no disciplinary action is taken against Kevin Pillar, I'm out for the season.
— Onson Sweemey (@ChurchCarlton) May 18, 2017
My hope is that Pillar’s further statements are sincere and that the Jays’ choice in disciplinary action is satisfactory, but it’s not really for me to say whether it is or isn’t.
Last summer Stacey May Fowles wrote a piece for us about the Jays’ lack of a Pride night at the ballpark, which is definitely worth revisiting today. In it she saw some progress in the fact that the club had asked Pride Toronto Board Secretary, Rachel Lauren Clark, to throw out a ceremonial first pitch last June, making Rachel the first openly trans person to throw out a ceremonial pitch for the team.
“Certainly Rachel Lauren Clark’s appearance on the mound at Rogers Stadium matters,” Stacey wrote, “but there’s more that can be done, and we can only hope this will be the start of a more comprehensive relationship between the LGBT community and the Toronto Blue Jays.”
Less than a year later and here we are. But at the very least I suppose we can be hopeful that something good — more outreach, more inclusivity — can come from it. The suggestions Stacey made in her piece would be a very good place for the Blue Jays to start.
Dwight Smith Jr. has been recalled from Buffalo to take Pillar’s place on the Jays’ roster.