Toronto CF Kevin Pillar suspended 2 games for anti-gay slur


John Bazemore/ AP In this photo taken Wednesday, Might, 17, 2017, Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Pillar (11) looks on as both benches empty onto the field after he exchanged words with Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jason Motte (30) in the seventh inning of a baseball game, in Atlanta. Pillar has been suspended two games for screaming an anti-gay slur at a Braves pitcher.

Thursday, May 18, 2017|3:48 p.m.

ATLANTA– Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar was suspended two games Thursday for shouting an anti-gay slur at a Braves pitcher.

Heaven Jays suspended Pillar without pay soon after he said sorry in a statement, saying he was “totally and absolutely embarrassed” by the word he directed at Jason Motte.

Pillar was angry at Motte for supposedly quick-pitching him to get a strikeout that ended the seventh inning in Atlanta’s 8-4 success Wednesday night.

Replays appeared to show Pillar using the slur as he screamed toward the mound. After what he referred to as a sleep deprived night, the player acknowledged his misdeed.

“I are sorry for saying it,” Pillar informed reporters at SunTrust Park a couple of hours before the ending of a four-game series against the Braves. “I’m going to utilize myself as an example of how there are words out there you cannot utilize. It’s not a word I utilize ever. … It’s something that simply came out.”

Toronto basic supervisor Ross Atkins flew to Atlanta to apologize on behalf of the organization and announce the suspension, which he said was deemed suitable by Big league Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Pillar will miss out on Thursday’s video game versus the Braves, as well as Friday’s video game at Baltimore. He will forfeit around $6,066 of his $555,000 wage, with the money contributed to charity.

Pillar will also pay a concealed fine.

“A large group chose that was appropriate,” Atkins stated. “There is no concern that remained in the heat of the minute, however that’s no excuse.”

In his statement, Pillar regreted that he “helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today. I’m totally and absolutely ashamed and feel terrible to have put the fans, my colleagues and the Blue Jays organization in this position.”

The event happened during the Blue Jays’ 3rd straight loss to the Braves. With his group tracking 8-3, Pillar struck out swinging to end a 1-2-3 seventh. He yelled towards the mound, prompting Motte to toss up his arms as if he didn’t know exactly what the problem was.

Atlanta catcher Kurt Suzuki and home plate umpire Brian O’Nora stepped in to diffuse the tension. Pillar headed towards the outfield and the Braves left the field.

Later, Pillar yielded to press reporters that he was frustrated by his team’s struggles, though he didn’t mention exactly what he said.

“It simply originates from a little disappointment in myself, just the way this series has actually been going,” he said. “It was immature, stupid. It was uncalled for. It becomes part of the game. I’m a competitive man.”

Pillar was far more contrite on Thursday. He called Motte to say sorry, and stated in his declaration that he also wished to “ask forgiveness to the Braves organization and their fans, and most notably, to the LGBTQ community for the disrespect I showed last night. This is not who I am and will utilize this as an opportunity to much better myself.”

“I will be an example of how words can anger a great deal of individuals,” Pillar informed press reporters. “I hope individuals see this as just a mistake in judgment.”

In 2012, heaven Jays offered shortstop Yunel Escobar a three-game suspension after he played a video game with an anti-gay slur written in Spanish on his eye-black sticker labels.

The group took a similar position toward Pillar.

“We wished to make sure we were as proactive as possible to obtain in front of it,” Atkins said.

Pillar’s slur came during a heated video game where Braves star Freddie Freeman was struck on the left wrist by a pitch, resulting in a fracture that will sideline one of the game’s best hitters for around 10 weeks.

In the 8th inning, both teams charged onto the field after Toronto’s Jose Bautista homered off Eric O’Flaherty, looked down the Atlanta reliever and flipped his bat high in the air. Jace Peterson yelled something at Bautista as he rounded first base, and Suzuki exchanged words with heaven Jays slugger after he touched home base.

No punches were tossed, however O’Flaherty provided a harsh rebuke to Bautista after the video game.

“That’s something making the game hard to view,” the pitcher stated, referring to previous home run celebrations by the Toronto slugger. “It’s become look-at-me stuff. He struck a home run with (the Braves holding) a five-run lead and tosses the bat around. I’m just tired of it. I’ve seen it from him enough.”

AP Sports Author Charles Odum in Atlanta, AP Baseball Author Ronald Blum in New York and Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto added to this report.

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