Funny definitely isn’t the word I’d use, but it’s certainly odd that on the day where Brett Lawrie is declared a burgeoning icon in the city’s gay community, we might have a related incident on our hands, of a seriously ugly and unfortunate nature.

Above we have an image of Yunel Escobar taken on Saturday, which has been posted on Flickr by frequent Twitterer @James_in_TO. On the Flickr page he writes:

For those whose Spanish isn’t fluent, have never seen Scarface or fail at google, Yunel’s eyeblack “TU ERE MARICON” translates to “You’re a faggot”. There are some small Spanish locales where it translates to “pussy” not “faggot” but that’s a very small possibility.

Ugh.

Now, to be entirely clear, I don’t speak Spanish, so I’m entirely taking this at face value and could absolutely be wrong about the interpretation or the context. I’ve already received a tweet from @BanditDeW, who explains, “All the latin players I ever played with used that as a generic curse word. Not a slur directed at a specific class.”

That would provide some measure of relief, I suppose. And I think it’s only fair to point out such potential contradictions, because I don’t want to throw Escobar– or whoever put this on his eye black– under the bus without making it known that we really don’t know the context here, or enough about the language to draw any hard conclusions yet– or at least I don’t. Additionally, at least theoretically, this could be the work of Photoshop, I suppose, but I’ve spoken with James on the internet, I know he’s not just some random, and personally, I have little reason not to believe that what we’re seeing here is real– and I’ve just had it confirmed from the video of Saturday’s game that, indeed, the phrase was there. (Other sources are finding other photos, too.)

A commenter on this post adds: “I have latino friends who use this phrase very often either playfully at each other or as a curse word, not neccessarily as a slur against gay people.”

Pointing that out sure is an easy way to dismiss some of the dark connotations and make us hope that it’s somehow a mix-up, but I don’t think that’s at all a satisfactory answer. I mean, some folks use the N-word playfully amongst friends, and I think we’d have a problem with that phrase being written on a player’s eye black, playful or not.

And perhaps, as James suggests in his Flickr post, this explains why Escobar suddenly came down with a “flu” yesterday and was absent from Sunday’s game– or even Mike Wilner’s suggestion on Sunday’s post-game JaysTalk that he’s starting to believe some of the rumblings about the club souring on Escobar.

I mean, while it’s not outside the realm of possibility that none of Escobar’s Spanish speaking noticed the saying or did and thought it entirely benign, you can’t help but start to think that maybe someone did see it, and decided it best to– quite literally– let Yunel wear it.

That’s getting a bit too conspiratorial for something that we just can’t know too much about– or, again, that I can’t. Keith Law, however, responds to questions in Spanish during his chats for ESPN.com, and doesn’t tread lightly into this one:

Even if you can let yourself look beyond the ugly language and see it as somehow an honest mistake– and I don’t want to be too gentle on him in offering that as a suggestion– it’s incredibly unprofessional and just plain dumb to have gone anywhere near there, and a total embarrassment to the club. There is no reason that can make such a slur acceptable, and somebody in that dugout– presumably Escobar himself, unless he was unwitting– should have been keen enough to fucking well know better.

And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the immature, insensitive, offensive culture that would, in the year two-thousand-and-goddamn-twelve, think a thing like that is funny. Like… for fuck sakes…

What’s possibly worse, we have a common sense-based suggestion from ex-Jay Dirk Hayhurst, who writes about the incident on Facebook and Twitter in no uncertain terms as though it was a prank.

“You know what, I have to think someone wrote it there, so when YE picked up the eye black sheet he read the insult at him, but then he was like, ‘screw it,’ and put it on anyways thinking everyone would laugh (probably did) and the rest is history,” he explains. “I honestly think little positive or negative thought went into this. It’s just one of those regrettable acts of stupidity.”

“Don’t be mad at me for knowing how a locker room operates. I’m not condoning it, I’m just saying, I (sadly) understand it,” he adds.

So, indeed, the potential exists for more morons in the clubhouse here– though in Hayhurst’s theory, the person who wrote it probably didn’t intend for Yunel to wear it out onto the goddamn field in front of thousands of fans, possibly millions at home, and countless cameras. Ugh.

Comments (277)

  1. Maybe it was a shout out to Billy Bean.

  2. I have a close friend that is from Mexico, he tells me that maricon is used VERY often in the language and almost never to directly call someone “faggot”. That doesnt make it right, but it makes it perhaps a tad less severe I suppose. He tells me that its usually used to refer to someone with no guts, no balls, a pussy or wimp, weakling etc etc, something to that regard.

    This is just another chapter in the story of Yunel and his immaturity. I dont think he deserves to be suspended for the rest of the season or anything but the Jays really need to find a way to put him in his place here, no slap on the wrist, they have to show strength and show whos the boss here. Come down on him in some way that will show him that “hey,,,quit fucking around or you are DONE”

  3. Remember when all Escobar apologists ragged on the people that questioned his attitude/personality? They all said basically the same thing, that you can’t judge someone or make an accurate assesment based on body language.

    Fucking funny. He’s now wrote the proof of his moronity ON HIS FUCKING FACE!

    Oh the fucking irony.

  4. Jesus. What a bunch of hero-wannabe pussies.

    While most are waaaaayyyyy over-defensively-reacting on behalf of the helpless poor little gay population of the world (yes, Virginia: sarcasm) … they are (likely … the smart ones, anyway) laughing their asses off at what a bunch of over-compensating, rushing-to-be-gay-savior douche-bags most of you are stampeding to be. Grow the fuck up. It was a joke. A bad one? Maybe (but maybe not; I don’t speak Spanish), but too fucking bad if it is. It won’t be the last one you ever see or hear.

    Take a breath. Nobody needs to be traded or suspended for this bit of foolishness. The gay population of the world – if that’s who you’re all so incensed and offended on behalf of – will survive just fine.

    And … why am I humming Sultans of Swing, exactly?

    • The rush to condemn is the curse of this age. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s presser that will be full of insincere remorse. This will be followed by seventeen LGBT days at the ol’ ballpark next season. Who is John Galt and can he play second?

    • not Sultans of Swing. It was Money For Nothing that was going through my head. Makes more sense.

    • Amen

    • All banned.

  5. K Fucking enough of the spanish slang lesson…what does this do to his trade value when combined with a down season???

  6. I commented earlier on this, but its worth mentioning again – its important to note that words are only damaging when they gain a persecutorial connotation. I understand how google translates Maricon and I don’t dispute that it’s literal translation is ‘faggot.’ But we should remember that even the word ‘faggot’ is not inherently hateful; it technically denotes a bundle of sticks.

    Maricon is a very common swear word in South America, used much in the way we in North America would use ‘asshole.’ Another good comparison is French Canadians’ use of the word ‘tabernac’, which has no religious connotations despite it’s technical definition. I’ve heard gay Hispanics use it (admittedly, no defense). As far as I’m concerned, the controversy should be over the maturity of a player who goes on national TV with a curse word tattooed to his face.

    Political correctness aside, Stoeten I would assume that you of all people would resist whipping out the Jump to Conclusions Mat. No one has any evidence that Yunel disregards homosexuals; why would we assume such a thing based on a curse word which translates inexactly into English?

    • “But we should remember that even the word ‘faggot’ is not inherently hateful; it technically denotes a bundle of sticks.”

      You mean in its original meaning, from which the slur was derived, which no one ever uses anymore? Yeah, nice try.

      • The argument that it’s insulting to homosexuals is based on claims that it “literally” means “faggot” rather than that it’s being used in a figurative way to call homosexuals names.

        If it’s taken figuratively, it doesn’t necessarily refer to homosexuals at all: it’s just a generic insult. And frankly, it would make far more sense to take it that way given that context of any homosexuals potentially being referred to is non-existant. You’d have to be desperately seeking a reason to see insults against homosexuals in everything to imagine that that was the intent, given far more contextually plausible figurative meanings.

        Recognizing how weak that approach is for justifying outrage, you may prefer to take it literally, in which case it also doesn’t refer to homosexuals because the literal meaning (as opposed to what it’s sensible to assume it was used to mean) is in fact a bundle of sticks. You can’t have it both ways.

        Ergo, people are just looking for an excuse to take offense where one doesn’t exist. The people perpetuating this b.s. are smart enough to know it’s b.s.. They just won’t admit it.

  7. [...] Stoeten at Drunk Jays Fans speculates that this could have been the work of some sort of clubhouse prank or joke. I really don’t [...]

  8. what a fag, thats what it means folks, this guy just screwed himself

  9. ….

  10. Honestly, who cares? It was a joke, it was stupid but to use false equivalency and somehow come to the determination that Escobar is a bad person is ridiculously stupid. You do realize that most sterotypes are somewhat true and that a baseball locker room is filled with jocks who are borderline droolies? Oh wait, you probably find that word offensive too, Words are words. Lighten up. It was bad judgement but lets not get too worked up about it. Mitt Romney said some things yesterday that were 5000 X worse.

    Also, culturally, in Latin America they arent so sensitive about bullshit that doesn’t matter. Escobar – and I doubt he was the one who wrote it – probably had no idea that this would be so offensive to the millions of people who stand idley by well millions starve but come down with the wrath of god on anyone who uses offensive languiage. Our societal priorites make me sick.

    • “Bullshit that doesn’t matter.” That’s where you and your fellow droolies are separated from the rest of us.

      I think you need to change your name.

  11. Perhaps if the hosts of this blog are truly concerned about hurtful language, they could go back and edit some of these posts:

    http://blogs.thescore.com/djf/?s=fag

    Escobar needs to be disciplined for this action. It should not be acceptable to his employers.

  12. What about nicknames like K-Rod and A-Rod, which are close to the older slur gayrod, and seem to stick around better than other similar names like Man-Ram?

  13. Infuriating. I lost all respect for him. Anyways he is not that good a player. Stupid enough not to be able to communicate in English after all these years in company with the other professional players.

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