A vast number of baseball fans are outraged that Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended only three games for writing an anti-gay slur under his eyes during a game. Escobar will be back by the end of the week, even though a lot of people in Toronto would prefer he never return.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos joined Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt on The Fan 590 in Toronto to discuss the Yunel Escobar incident and defend his controversial punishment.
On the intent being malicious and the suspension being too light:
“It was determined — and it’s not for me to debate — by a lot of people involved in this that that was not the intent. Again, that’s not coming close to trying to rationalize or condone any of this. It’s just what was ultimately determined. So I guess I would say, with that being said, that was the determination. And also, with all the parties involved, it was, ‘What can we do to tackle a larger problem?’ Because whatever happens to Yunel Escobar going forward, does that address the issue of what’s going on in sports, what’s going on in life right now? And obviously that would be a discussion that would be too many hours to be on your show to talk about, but I think that’s ultimately what the decision came down to.”
On if he made the decision or if he was told to suspend Escobar three games:
“This was done collectively. The suspension comes from the team, but again, this was done collectively with a lot of people involved. Can tell you the names that were brought up at the time: Roger McDowell, coach with the Atlanta Braves, had an incident where he had 14 games. I know there was obviously an incident with Delmon Young earlier in the year where he had seven games. And obviously Yunel. And I don’t know if it’s a pattern but it seems like everything was half of that depending on the severity, or what they felt the intent was, and so on. They went down to three. I know, obviously, Ozzie Guillen had some problems in the past as well. I know all those things came up. I know there was other examples in sports like Kobe Bryant that were brought up as well. That was part of the equation, but again, I don’t think it was done by one specific person, I think it was done collectively as a group. The league is very involved in this, as they should be, because it goes beyond our club, it impacts the league as well.”
On him having the power to release Escobar but deciding against it:
“We decided not to make that determination. And ultimately, I think what it comes down to is … I know ultimately you said you don’t believe it, you don’t care what he said — and ultimately for me to debate you on that, I’m not gonna get anywhere going there.” [The phone cut out at this point.]
Listen to Yunel Escobar on The Fan 590 here (starts at 24:00)