Yesterday afternoon, it was revealed that Yunel Escobar wore eye black for a Saturday afternoon game that was decorated with the words, “TU ERE MARICON.” Since then, there has been much discussion over the translation, context and meaning of the phrase, which has ranged from the obscene hatred of  ”You’re a faggot” to the trash-talking humor of “You’re a weakling.” About the only thing for certain is that there’s a negative connotation to the phrase, meant to describe inferiority.

While Escobar himself might suggest that the meaning he meant to convey with the writing below his eyes was something along the less offensive lines, it should be noted that this isn’t the first time that the shortstop has adorned his eye black with something offensive having to do with sexuality.

According to Out Sports, Escobar wore eye black during an August 29th game in New York that had the following lettering: “K PINGA NO,” which, assuming the “K” is short for “que,” would translate to something along the lines of “that no dick.” Que Pinga is also a Cuban slang term that means, “What the fuck?”

While we await to hear Escobar’s explanation for this past weekend’s misstep, I find it difficult to grasp any mitigating circumstances that could lead to a no-harm-no-foul dismissal of his actions. Before this latest discovery, those willing to accept that the language Escobar used on Saturday wasn’t directly offensive to homosexuals, would have a hard time persuading me that even if the shortstop’s intentions weren’t rooted in homophobia, he wasn’t aware of the connotations of what was written on his eye black.

This, to me, isn’t something that’s easily forgivable, and it’s certainly not something that should be quickly forgotten by Blue Jays fans, the Blue Jays franchise or Major League Baseball.

Comments (84)

  1. It’d great to see more of this kind of condemning the next time an MLB player gets a DUI.

  2. Not defending it at all – but he should have been aware of the English translation connotations? Should have known how google translate would interpret the phrase? That’s suggesting something problematic to me. Maybe not as much as hateful (not necessarily hate) speech but it’s a different language. Does everyone have to worry how the English speaking world translates their words?

    • There are more connotations than merely the English translation. Ask a Spanish speaking person what it means and you’ll receive a wide variety of explanations.

      • Exactly. So why are we quick to go to the extreme end? See star article on it – it’s regional specific even specific to whether it’s a noun or not. Why have we simply imposed our own meaning on it?

        • The bigger problem should be its gendered connotations. That our culture groups gendered statements like this one as similar to “fag” says much (or little) about how we understand gendered issues

        • I’m with Dustin here. It doesn’t matter what it means. The point is: Why do it? It’s so immature for a man his age. You’re a professional, 29 yr old, athlete for God’s sake. Act like it.

          This is something a 17 yr old high school football player would do to act tough. Totally unacceptable at this level.

      • FWIW with my sample size of one, I asked my Argentinian buddy what his interpretation would be if I said that to him and he told me I’d be saying ‘You are gay’ and I think he was cleaning it up a little.

        • For argentinians may have a different meaning than for Cubans or Venezuelans…If you heard Vizquel or Ozzie Guillen (not that the latter is a great example) they understand that in a different way…so do I, as many other latinos, we use this expression many times during informal conversations

    • I asked my Spanish friend, from Argentina, they said it means “you’re gay”

  3. This might be my final straw as a Jays fan. The fact NO players stepped up, EE, Jose, WTF good is Vizquel if he can’t intervene on this…then the spanish speaking coaches? NOTHING! This organization is constantly tripping over itself and the only way their ever going to be relevant in September is through embarrassment. Boy, that Cito Gaston mutiny a few years ago sure was fun to watch. Have fun with your corporate don’t give a flying fuck owners guys. It’s not the fans fault, but I’m going to spoil myself with the best owner in sports Mike Illitch. I recognize y’all probably don’t care about my allegiances but…being a Jays fan is just too much. I feel disrespected from the top to bottom over NO FUCKING LEADERSHIP.

  4. Such an awful story at this point. I’m curious what will come of the presser this afternoon, but don’t see any possible happy endings here.

    I quickly scanned through Getty Images, and did see a couple of occasions in 2011 where he wore eye black that was unmarked, so this might be something he started recently.

    Agreed about your Spanish comment, Dustin – different regions definitely interpret the same words differently.

  5. Seriously, the season from hell. Just as Hech shows MLB-level promise, potentially rendering Escobar as trade bait, he trashes his PR value through this.

    All I can say, is this has been the most frustrating, maddening season I’ve seen in 19 years. Potential unfulfilled, injuries as excuses (Yanks have had huge injuries, they don’t seem to be wringing their hands from it; JUST SIGN SOME DEPTH AA!) and now PR nightmares.

    I think this is the Jays destiny – a team that tantalizes with talent, and crushes dreams with half realized outcomes.

  6. The team really should have a policy of no personal messages of any sort on players’ eye black, equipment, etc.

  7. Does anyone know what time the press conference will be? And if it will be streamed live à la Ryan Braun?

    • I think it’s on at four homie. Not sure who will be broadcasting it. I would just keep refreshing DJF

  8. A comment from the Star article: “Wuss? Weak?
    Okay now I understand. A derogatory term towards homosexuals is deeply offensive but one against slightly built, weak heterosexual men is okay. It’s always nice to know who it’s still okay to marginalize.”

    PC Overload!

    • “Excuse me, good sir, but might I draw attention to the fact that your prowess at the game of baseball is inferior to mine own.”

  9. The fact that ‘pinga’ in Spanish may have weaker connotations than ‘faggot’ in English is not really an excuse. In British English there are other abusive terms for homosexuals – the best known probably being ‘poof’.

    Most Britons would say that ‘poof’ is not nearly so offensive as ‘faggot’. Watch the British Office, and you’ll probably hear it a few times said by Brent or Gareth. However … it IS offensive, and a soccer player wearing eye-black saying ‘you’re a poof’ would be in deep, deep, trouble, even though they probably hear that and far worse from the stands every game they play.

    At the end of the day, players need to know better. It’s no great surprise that major league locker rooms are not havens of forward-thinking tolerance. There has still never been an out gay baseball player. But players can’t get away with what’s at best infantile and moronic, and at worst evidence of hate speech.

  10. Ozzie Guillen rants about his support for Fidel Castro – a man who has killed litterally tens of thousands of Cubans and ACTUALLY HATES GAY PEOPLE and imprisons them – and we are treated to a Getting Blanked article about how Castro’s legacy is nuanced and Cuba isn’t as bad as our preconceptions lead us to believe and, either way, Guillen is entitled to voice his opinion.
    Yunel Escobar writes something on his face which, lets face it, is at its heart a common Spanish swear word and betrays absolutely no evidence of inherent prejudice or hateful intent, and the conclusion is “its certainly not something that should be quickly forgotten by the Jays fans, franchise or MLB.”
    That’s not even getting into the contradiction of a writer dismissing moral outrage over PEDs on the grounds that we don’t, and can’t, know the intent or the impact of the action given the information at hand but then rents an Italian sports car so he can rush to judgement faster against a guy based on what he saw the word Maricon meant in google translator.
    I understand that in the internet era its important to formulate reactions as quickly as possible but its mystifying to me how writers who CONSTANTLY preach patience and a thorough analysis of evidence before making accusations have suddenly all whipped out their Jump to Conclusions Mats. Why don’t you just lay off the moralizing.

    • homophobia: bad
      alternatives to oligopoly: not necessarily bad

      it’s called politics, or i guess “editorial stance” when it’s in journalism.

      • You would define Castro’s Cuba as an “alternative to oligopoly”?

        soupman: bad

        • nuance: good.
          Jaymz: not necessarily capable of nuance

          • Maybe you’re a communist – I may think you’re an idiot, but I wouldn’t accuse you of being a bigot because of that.

            But you pretend to care about homophobia, and if the treatment of homosexuals is something you feel strongly about then, by definition, you must abhor Fidel Castro’s regime. Go ahead, look it up.

            Ignoring every other horrible thing Castro did, if we just focus on the narrowest fucking sliver of gay rights, Castro is more of a bigot then Yunel could ever be short of murdering gay people by the dozen, which is basically what Castro did.

    • A voice of reason, we could use more of these.

  11. who’s to say that this was only the first or second time he was let out onto the field with eye black carrying negative connotations. How do we know that Omar/EE/Jose hasn’t stopped him 20 times already and told him, “Hey I don’t think you should be wearing that” and then takes them off?

  12. Why not consider the fact that Yunel comes from a culture that does not tolerate homosexuality and instead suggest he should be educated. Education is better than suspension for all parties concerned. I also cringe at the constant moral superiority of North Americans; we don’t know what that word means, and to assume negative connotation is unjust. Stop it. Just stop the bullshit. Wait for the man to explain himself, then offer logical solutions such as education or simply a talk. The man has never done an English presser for gods sake.

  13. Ironic how Parkes and Stoeten were spewing homophobic remarks on DJF for YEARS before they sold out.

    • Or learned? or evolved?
      Or you’re just making that up (? I’m not sure since I don’t recall such a time)

      • Oh, he’s not making it up. They’ve definitely learned since those days, though.

          • You know what Mr Parkes – you could actually address this following quote, written by yourself on the DJF blog in 2010:

            “Jesus Christ! Did you check our shit out when that whole Halladay trade went down? The ol’ blog has still got it. Jumping sharks is for fags.”

            And ‘it’s ironic’ is no more of a defence than any nonsense Yunel might come up with later today. Would you say ‘jumping sharks is for n******’? I doubt it very much.

            For someone who wields quite a bit of moral outrage, especially when you’re taking on other people’s moral outrage about something you don’t care about, you need to look after your own glass house before you start throwing stones.

          • it’s ok to cheat and lie about it, steal from your owner and fans but God forbid you write a juvenile, insulting statement on your eye black. Juvenile insults are only acceptable when posted as articles on The Score apparently.

          • Most of those are quoting other people (*cough* Ozzie *cough*), but yeah a few are…. uhm…. opportunities to learn from our past mistakes :)

  14. Crazy idea….how about before we jump to conclusions and make judgements and stuff we wait to hear what Escobar and the Jays have to say about it?

  15. I can’t really find myself caring. Is anybody going to make a free-speech argument? As Charles Barkley says, I am not a role model. Let him do what he wants.

    • Free speech as limits (it’s in the charter). Hate speech is one of those limits. So if this is hate speech, then he doesn’t get to say it freely.

      As for the not a role model bit… I guess, but there’s also just not being an ignorant ass in public…. Also there’s nothing to say people can’t react negatively to Yunel, or Charles Barkley, or anyone else when they do something reprehensible, even if they aren’t a “role model”

  16. it’s not supposed to be homophobic at all. Everyone uses the word faggot, and never does it mean gay.

    • 1. Not everyone uses the word faggot.

      2. It is homophobic. Saying “that’s gay” or “you’re a faggot” in a derogatory sense implies that there is something negative about being gay.

      • I think his point was that ‘faggot’ is no longer used as a pejorative referring to a homosexual, it’s simply used as a general insult. I happen to agree with that assessment.

        • That’s not true in general, although the South Park episode about the shift in the meaning of “gay” is a good reference.

          At what point would a word like “fag” genuinely change meaning? Some people will use it to hurt homosexuals and some people won’t. It will probably keep those two meanings for decades or even centuries. It’s just sad that Yunel’s intent is made irrelevant by this media shitstorm.

  17. Escobar was out with the “flu” on Sunday. Somehow, I’m not buying that and think the Jays were trying to keep this in-house…

  18. Great news for Hecchevaria fans right here.

  19. “the obscene hatred” of “youre a faggot”

    lol

    even in the english language that word is used like the word fuck, its meaning as far as homosexuality goes is nearly irrelevant

    • Chad, I take it you are not homosexual. Neither am I, but I’ve had it shouted at me once or twice, once late a night, while walking a somewhat effeminate dog. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t meant as a joke. It was meant to threaten me and make me feel like shit. And it worked.

      It’s called ‘hate speech’, because the message it conveys is ‘although we don’t know you, we hate you, and in the right circumstances, we’d act on that hatred’. It’s meant to intimidate and frighten, and it’s used all the time to do just that. Just because you call your buddies ‘fags’ and you all think it’s just a laugh, doesn’t make any of that less the case.

  20. There is NO WAY Yunel Escobar wouldn’t have known that “Tu ere maricon” could mean “You’re a faggot”. I highly doubt it he meant it to mean “You’re a wuss.” He’s clearly just a stupid, spoiled overpaid waste of space. He’s a had a crappy attitude on the field this season and is obviously a liability. In this day and age, the Blue Jays need to make a statement about this kind of thing. What if he put “You’re a n*****” on his face? Would we be debating whether there should be massive repercussions? No. Just because there are multiple ways to interpret “maricon” doesn’t mean we should give him the benefit of any doubt.

  21. Are you hypocritical pieces of shit going to apologize for your own numerous similar remarks on your shitty blog in the past? It would make your moral outrage a little more tolerable.

  22. Aren’t we all getting a lil too f*ckin’ sensitive? There are so many bigger issues in sports and the world that are way bigger than this. Not to mention the fact that NOBODY actually knows the full story, but Jays fans love to use coloured players as scapegoats, so I’m not surprised.

  23. Is nobody else going to point out how sad it is that Yunel miswrote “eres”?

    • Even more sad is that he comes from a country with 99% literacy, where learning English in school is mandatory, has been playing for English speaking teams for years, but can’t speak English!

      • In his defence, if this happened to me, I wouldn’t want to give a press conference in French, even though I’ve spoken it for 30 years. I’m just not fluent enough to deal with the nuance of such a charged situation. So even if he spoke good conversational English, I’d expect him to have participated in the press conference in Spanish.

  24. Also, ¿qué pinga, no? could mean “What a dick, eh?” Harmless.

    • Ok, but a professional who will be appearing on nationally broadcast television and in major newspaper pictures should probably know better than to put potentially offensive things on his face. You can argue “He has a right to express himself”, and maybe he does, but it would be a lot easier to just keep stupid comments like “What a dick” and “You’re a faggot” off his face.

      • I’m kind of pulling my hair out at this one as the whole discussion about whether or not Escobar is homophobic or not misses the point.

        I’d give him the benefit of the doubt as clearly maricon is ambiguous and he’s apparently written other generic, offensive stuff before.

        The only question that matters to me and that I’m not seeing answered in all this, is why is he writing messages on his eye black, let alone insulting ones.

        Who are they meant for? Apparently not for the camera as he seems caught by surprise at all this. They aren’t for his teammates it seems as everyone in the dugout apparently has been ignoring them. They aren’t for his opponents, as most wouldn’t see them and would presumably have reacted badly if it was for them.

        So why does he do it? Is it to pump himself up, like telling yourself how badass you are? Is he just an immature person who gets kicks out of writing expletives on his body? It’s just weird.

        So what does all this amount to?

        The takeaway for me is it just helps confirm that Escobar is a bit of a bad apple – not to say he’s a bad person, but I think he’s flawed on the character side. The Braves thought so and their fans remain very happy to have seen the back of him. And frankly, this immature display is the final straw for me, as I’ve grown tired of the assortment of unflattering looks I alsways seen on his face ( dopey, mopey, scowling, vacant, uninterested, etc). You want to see playes who project postive and upbeat energy, and that’s not at what I get watching him.

        The other takeaway for me in this is that it further errodes my confidence in John Farrell as manager. I think he is a great guy, great mentor with his fatherly demeanour, and the kind of guy I’d love to work for. But then I’m not a young, athlete in need of a firm hand and discipline. I read a comment elsewhere that we need a boss not a babysitter in the dugout. This is probably too harsh, but I’ve often wondered if Farrell isn’t too accomodating, like teacher that the kids like but don’t really fear.

        Clearly, he’s shown bad judgemnent here – he shouldn’t have been letting players write anything on their faces, let alone bad words. I can’t imagine this happening in Joe Girardi’s clubhouse for instance. I’m not writing Farrell off by any means and I really like a lot about him, I’m just not convinced that he has the temperament to be the “boss”. Maybe he’s better suited to being a coach, who can just be that mentor character. Time will tell.

        As an aside, I think Farrell couldbe well suited to being a GM one day. He brings on the field experience as a player, coach and now manager. He’s got player development experience running a farm team and being part of a front office. He’s obviously intelligent, organized and has the kind of friendly, professional demeanour that he could get on well with other GMs, agents, etc. I think it could be a natural career progression for him at some point, though probably first as an assistant GM to learn the ropes. Just a thought.

      • ““What a dick” and “You’re a faggot” off his face.”

        This is not what was written: “K pinga no” may mean as many things as “Tu ere maricon”..and they are used in everyday conversations in Spanish (specially in the Caribbean)…BTW, for those who asked this guy to be aware: He is paid to baseball which does not require formal education, he can’t even spell ERES in Spanish, so don’t expect him to properly address in English (connotations)

  25. Bullshit Parkes! I commented last night in the DJF comment section that Escobar had a message on his eye black after coming back from paternity leave. Then OUT sports takes the credit. #@@$#r please.

  26. “This, to me, isn’t something that’s easily forgivable, and it’s certainly not something that should be quickly forgotten by Blue Jays fans, the Blue Jays franchise or Major League Baseball.”

    You are insanely smug and arrogant. I barely read this blog and you are the chief reason why.

  27. I agree completely, Parkes is such a fag.

  28. bud, you’re phrase ” ‘K PINGA NO,’ which, assuming the ‘K’ is short for ‘que,’ would translate to something along the lines of ‘that no dick.’ Que Pinga is also a Cuban slang term that means, ‘What the fuck?’ is absolute BS. This article is nothing but a weak grab for some news. “that no dick” isn’t even a sentence, and if it actual was meant meant to be Que Pinga as in “what the fuck”, then what does the no mean at the end? “What the fuck no” What the no fuck” “what no the fuck”. Cmon guys, this is a terrible post from a great blog. The kid made a mistake, let’s move the PINGA on

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