May 18, 2017 / 7:33 PM / 5 months ago

Baseball-Blue Jays' Pillar apologises for homophobic slur

TORONTO, May 18 (Reuters) - Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar apologised on Thursday for directing a homophobic slur towards an Atlanta Braves pitcher during Wednesday’s game that has led to an investigation by Major League Baseball.

Pillar, one of MLB’s best defensive centre fielders, shouted at Atlanta’s Jason Motte after striking out to end the seventh inning on what he felt was a quick pitch. The heated exchange led to the benches being cleared.

“Last night, following my at-bat in the seventh inning, I used inappropriate language towards Braves pitcher Jason Motte,” Pillar said in a statement.

“By doing so I had just helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today. I‘m completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the fans, my teammates and the Blue Jays organization in this position.”

MLB is investigating the incident, which was caught on camera, and could suspend or fine Pillar.

The Blue Jays issued their own statement on Thursday saying they are “extremely disappointed” by Pillar’s comments and apologised to all fans, MLB and the LGBTQ community.

“We know Kevin to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field,” the Blue Jays said.

In 2012, the Blue Jays suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games for playing while wearing eye black that contained a gay slur in Spanish. (Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Toby Davis)

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