Yunel Escobar: A Literal Black Mark for the Toronto Blue Jays

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.

I’ve been asked to write on Escobar’s three-game suspension but, really, what is there to say? 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.)

On Saturday, 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 can mean a rotunda of things, but most (okay, virtually all) are offensive to somebody. It doesn’t unilaterally mean something homophobic, though, or else Escobar’s suspension would have no doubt extended trois jours. (And, it may still, because the MLB is also investigating the shortstop.)

The real question, of course, is, “Why the hell did Escobar feel that was necessary?”

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? 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 the game, 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? No, of course not. It should be eradicated. But, Simmonds said it in impulse and he’s one of hundreds that does 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) agrees with him.

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┬ámean, because he and the Jays will want to distance themselves from it. That’s assuming they keep him beyond 2012, which isn’t a certainty.

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

But, 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 anti-gay marriage stance doesn’t apply to other boxers.

Simmonds’s use of the F word, though, does gives us some insight into the vulgar nature of hockey. So, which is worse? Which is more important? Which deserves our attention?

In what Yunel did, Yunel stands alone.

And, what more needs to be said that isn’t being inferred already?