TORONTO (TheBlaze/AP) — Major League Baseball is checking reports that Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar, a Cuban native, played Saturday’s game against Boston wearing eye-black displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish.
Pictures posted online show Escobar with the message written in his eye-black, a sticker players wear under their eyes to reduce glare from the sun. The slur did not appear to be directed at any person in particular. The Huffington Post explains the message and its connotations:
Photographs of the 29-year-old taken by Getty Images during the game, as well as images captured by a Blue Jays fan seated near the home dugout, make it clear that Escobar’s eye-black bore the message “TU ERE MARICON.” The phrase (with a slight spelling fix) is most commonly translated from Spanish to English as “You are a faggot,” according to the Toronto Star. The Globe And Mail notes that “Other possible translations of the phrase lack the homophobic connotation, but are nevertheless offensive.”
While the message is certainly entirely offensive to many, the Globe and Mail notes that there isn’t yet enough information to determine how the phrase appeared on the player’s face. Escobar is known for placing messages on his eye black, but it is unclear if he wrote these words himself or if he was the victim of what the outlet calls “a tasteless prank.”
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed the commissioner’s office is looking into the reports.
“The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter,” the Blue Jays said in a statement Monday night, adding they “do not support discrimination of any kind nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday’s game.”
The team said Escobar will be available to the media Tuesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium along with general manager Alex Anthopoulos, manager John Farrell and coach Luis Rivera.