Blue Jays sus­pend Pil­lar for ho­mo­pho­bic slur

‘Ashamed, em­bar­rassed,’ he gets 2-game ban

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS With files from The As­so­ci­ated Press

AT­LANTA — Kevin Pil­lar has been sus­pended for two games for shout­ing an anti-gay slur at an At­lanta Braves pitcher, an in­ci­dent the Toronto Blue Jays cen­tre fielder says he deeply re­grets but hopes will ul­ti­mately raise aware­ness about the hurt­ful im­pact words can have.

Gen­eral man­ager Ross Atkins con­firmed the team ban dur­ing a me­dia avail­abil­ity be­fore Thurs­day night’s game at Sun­Trust Park.

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

Re­plays ap­peared to show Pil­lar us­ing the slur as he yelled to­ward the mound.

Pil­lar told re­porters in At­lanta there is “no place for this lan­guage” any­where, in­clud­ing on the base­ball field.

“I re­ally felt em­bar­rassed for my­self, for my fam­ily for this or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Pil­lar said, adding that he had not slept much Wed­nes­day night. “I was ashamed.”

The in­ci­dent oc­curred dur­ing the Blue Jays’ third straight loss to the Braves. With his team trail­ing 8-3, Pil­lar struck out swing­ing to end a 1-2-3 sev­enth. He yelled to­ward the mound, prompt­ing Motte to throw up his arms as if he didn’t know what the prob­lem was.

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

Af­ter the game, Pil­lar con­ceded to re­porters that he was frus­trated by his team’s strug­gles, though he didn’t men­tion what was said.

“It just stems from a lit­tle frus­tra­tion in my­self, just the way this se­ries has been go­ing,” he said. “It was im­ma­ture, stupid. It was un­called for. It’s part of the game. I’m a com­pet­i­tive guy.”

Pil­lar, who said he has apol­o­gized per­son­ally to Motte, was much more con­trite Thurs­day.

“There were a lot of dif­fer­ent words that could have been said in the heat of the mo­ment but that was the word that came out,” said Pil­lar. “I re­gret say­ing it whole­heart­edly.”

Pil­lar was to miss Thurs­day’s game against the Braves, as well as Fri­day’s game at Bal­ti­more. He will for­feit ap­prox­i­mately $6,066 of his $550,000 salary, with the money do­nated to char­ity.

Pil­lar will also pay an undis­closed fine.

“A large group de­cided that was ap­pro­pri­ate,” Atkins said. “There is no ques­tion that was in the heat of the mo­ment, but that’s no ex­cuse.”

Pil­lar said he hopes others will learn from his ac­tions.

“I un­der­stand that I stand here with an op­por­tu­nity to turn this into some­thing that is go­ing to be very pos­i­tive,” he said.

Kevin Pil­lar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.