Things got very heated, to say the least, Wednesday night in the Braves 8-4 win over the Blue Jays. No, I’m not referring to the Jose Bautista ridiculous bat flip down four runs, we’re used to it at this point. Joey Bats is just absurd. But where things took a hard left turn was in the 7th inning after a 0-2 “quick pitch” by Jason Motte to strikeout Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar. Pillar, irate, then proceeded to shout an anti-gay slur at Motte. You can guess which one. The BLUE JAYS, not major league baseball suspended him two games for the incident.
At first, when I heard that the Jays were the ones to suspend him I was a little shocked. Shocked but not upset in the least, I was actually quite pleased by the action. You see integrity in sports is tough and that’s because sports are a buisnees and business equates to $$$. So often do we see players, managers, and upper management not do the right thing because of the money on the line. It’s a hard balance and quite frankly very rarely do the ones in positions of power exercise their decisions solely on what is right or wrong and discounting the monetary value of said decision.
But not this time, I have to tip my cap to the Blue Jays organization. They stood up for what was right and put the money and baseball aside. It’s much easier said than done too. Kevin Pillar is their leadoff hitter, starting center fielder, and is having a breakout year. This means less chance to win without him, potentially fewer seats sold and putting the ego to the side. Most teams let the commissioner take charge and pray they don’t punish their player or just give them a slap on the wrist, like a fine which doesn’t hurt them. But the Jays handled this in house and I couldn’t be happier. Accountability, something deeply missed in our society today.
Now we’ll take a look at the situation itself. Pillar said the antigay slur which was completely uncalled for in the heat of the moment. But nonetheless still said it. To some, it may not seem like a big deal. But we need to remember that we all have an Achilles heal. Something that if said to us will infuriate us beyond belief. Could be race, religion, gender, anything with a personal attack and attempt to disrespect that person. If the pitcher were black let’s say and he called him a n*****. Pretty clear to see the indecency their right? Or if you call a woman a whore. Or call a Catholic a redneck and so on. The words may be different that hurt one another but the one thing we ALL share is that we want to be treated with respect.
Now to my knowledge Motte has a wife and isn’t in the LGBTQ community. However, the term said was intended to insult and demean him. To disrespect Motte as he himself, Pillar, felt disrespected. In addition, I’m sure the LGBTQ community found this disrespectful as well as the Braves and many of the fans in attendance. He was dead wrong and I think a two-game suspension is an appropriate punishment.
For those saying this isn’t severe enough we have to remember, one act doesn’t define someone. That someone, Kevin Pillar is also known to be a well-regarded person in the baseball community and didn’t have a blemish on his record prior to this. It doesn’t excuse what he did but we can’t go around overreacting and being prisoners of the moment. Pillar was disrespectful Wednesday night but that doesn’t mean he’s a disrespectful person.
Pillar also gave an apology both in person and via twitter. Apologizing to the Braves organization, the Blue Jays, the fans, and the LGBQT community. Also, as for his two-game suspension not only will he not be paid for those two games. But instead, the money will go to a charity of his choosing and rightfully so. I always figured that these fines and whatnot should go to where they can make a difference and not to the NFL, MLB, NBA, cuz they don’t need it.
We can only hope that incidents like this with Pillar and Jones at Fenway shed light to the ongoing problems we continue to have in society. Sadly, many times they can be forgotten when not experienced personally. But make not mistake about it there are those who experience this type of disrespect on a day to day basis. Sports serve as an incredible platform when used appropriately, but when abused, leave us dumbfounded in disgust. Furthermore, they remind us of the evils of racism, prejudice, and discrimination and what all unites us as human beings no matter gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity is our desire to be respected by one another.