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.
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.
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:
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) September 17, 2012
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…
“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.