Yunel Escobar Should Be Suspended For The Remainder Of The Year

Updated: September 18, 2012

This afternoon, the Blue Jays announced that Yunel Escobar would be suspended for three games for wearing a derogatory and hateful slogan on his eyeblack during a game. That is a joke. Escobar should be suspended for the remainder of the season.

Let me begin by pointing out that accross all leagues, players, coaches, and owners are routinely suspended and/or fined for making statements against other teams, officials, or the league itself, so this is certainly not a first amendment type issue. The Blue Jays and MLB absolutely have the authority to discipline Escobar if they deem he has been a poor representation of the sport.

The difference between what Mark Cuban does when he complains about NBA refs and what Escobar did with his eyeblack is the venue. When Cuban speaks, it is off the court, after the game, where only people who seek out his comments would hear them. Also, Cuban is pretty much an equal opportunity hater.

The biggest issue I have with Escobar is that his message was disseminated  from the biggest stage available to him, and also the least appropriate.

Take Ozzie Guillen. When he made his stupid statements about Fidel Castro, he was speaking as a member of the Marlins organization but he was not in the process of fulfilling his Marlins obligations. Escobar, in contrast, was ON THE FIELD. He was doing the exact act that he is paid millions of dollars to do and he turned it into a political statement.

I have a major problem with what Escobar’s eyeblack said, but I have equal issue with the fact that he wore the offending eyeblack on the field.

Another example: I disagree with Luke Scott on just about every political and social issue. We have oposite views on gun rights and most political sticking points. That is really a non-issue, however, because when Scott plays, he, like every other pro-athlete other than Escobar, checks his politics at the foul line.

What Escobar did was bring a message–an offensive, homophobic, unacceptable message, but a message nonetheless–onto a baseball field, where messages do not belong. Really, that is his biggest offense.

I agree with the current Jays decision that Escobar should donate to Gay and Lesbian charities and should undergo counseling or training or whatever to address the content of his message but I think he needs to be suspended for the remainder of the season, at the least, to make the point very clear to Escobar and to everyone else that this type of action is not going to stand.

The Blue Jays have 17 games left this year. That seems like an appropriate number to get this important point across.

-Max Frankel


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