Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar was suspended from two games Thursday after calling an Atlanta Braves pitcher a f*ggot.
The Canadian team suspended Pillar after he apologized, saying he was “completely and utterly embarrassed” by his use of the slur during his team’s game against the Braves Wednesday night.
Pillar yelled the offensive term toward pitcher Jason Motte after he thought the Braves player had quick-pitched him to get a strikeout. Video of the event shows Pillar screaming at the mound and Motte raising his arms in confusion.
The 28-year-old fielder later apologized for his remarks to a group of reporters gathered at SunTrust Park.
“I regret saying it,” he said. “I’m going to use myself as an example of how there are words out there you can’t use. It’s not a word I use ever.”
He concluded: “It’s something that just came out.”
Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins flew down to Atlanta to apologize on behalf of the team and formerly announce Pillar’s suspension, a move supported by Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred.
In a statement, the team condemned Pillar’s actions, writing, “The Toronto Blue Jays are extremely disappointed by the comments made by Kevin Pillar following his at-bat during the 7th inning of last night’s game.”
“We would like to extend our own apologies to all fans, Major League Baseball and especially the LGBTQ community.”
Statement from the Toronto Blue Jays. pic.twitter.com/ASZuzUM6RM
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 18, 2017
On Thursday, Pillar called Motte to apologize and issued a statement saying that he also wanted to apologize to the Braves organization, their fans and, most importantly, to the LGBTQ community for the “lack of respect” he displayed during the game.
“[With my actions], I helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today,” he wrote. “This is not who I am and will use this as an opportunity to better myself.”
— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) May 18, 2017
In 2012, the Blue Jays gave shortstop Yunel Escobar a three-game suspension after he played an entire game with an anti-LGBT slur written in Spanish on his under-eye black stickers.