Major League Baseball has launched an investigation after the Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar appeared to direct a homophobic slur at the Atlanta Braves pitcher Jason Motte.
The alleged incident occurred Wednesday night during the seventh inning of Toronto's 8-4 loss to Atlanta, the third meeting between the two teams in as many days.
The Blue Jays outfielder apologized for his reaction after the game but did not indicate what he said on the field.
In 2012, the Blue Jays suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games for playing while wearing eye black that contained a gay slur in Spanish.
Pillar says he personally apologized to Motte - but wants to reach out to the LBGTQ community and express his regrets for the "lack of respect" he displayed during the game.
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Baseball's Rule 6.04 covers unsportsmanlike conduct and section (a)(2) states that no player shall "use language which will in any manner refer to or reflect upon opposing players, an umpire, or any spectator". 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 lat and not being able to build on what we were able to build [against] Seattle.
"In no way is this kind of behavior accepted or tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we would like to be", the statement read in part.
These words, while rather boilerplate, do cut to the heart of the issue and at least acknowledge the way his actions disrespected members of the LGBTQ community and alienated his fans and baseball fans everywhere. Jace Peterson shouted something at Bautista as he rounded first base, and Suzuki exchanged words with the Blue Jays slugger after he touched home plate. "It's turned into look-at-me stuff". In a separate incident, benches cleared again after Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista flipped his bat in the eighth inning when he hit a home run off Eric O'Flaherty. I'm just exhausted of it.
O'Flaherty then brought up a punch that Bautista took just over a year ago during a scuffle with Texas second baseman Rougned Odor.
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