MLB Investigating Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar Over Alleged Use of Homophobic Slur (Video)
Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar is having an outstanding season so far. In addition to his usual stellar defense, the 28-year-old southern California is also hitting a career-best .305/.357/.497.
Unfortunately, on Wednesday night in Atlanta it appears that Pillar may have done something that could put a pretty big stain on his 2017 campaign.
With the Jays trailing the Braves 8-3 with two outs in the top of the 7th, Pillar struck out swinging against Braves hurler Jason Motte. However, Pillar apparently thought Motte had quick-pitched him. So he shouted something that immediately drew ire from Motte and catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Before you knew it the benches had cleared:
The benches clear in Atlanta after Kevin Pillar takes exception to Jason Motte's quick pitch in the top of the 7th inning!!! pic.twitter.com/fcwxtUWuYL
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 18, 2017
You could not hear what Pillar said during the initial broadcast. However, another camera angle gives us a good look at Pillar’s face. And it sure looks like he might have shouted a homophobic slur.
Take a look and see what you think:
After the game, Pillar was already apologizing for the incident. However, he did not explicitly reference a homophobic slur.
“It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for,” Pillar told reporters. “It’s part of the game, it’s just, I’m a competitive guy and heat of the moment. Obviously I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to reach out and apologize and let him know he didn’t do anything wrong, it was all me. Obviously something to learn from, something to move on from.
“Don’t let it define me,” Pillar continued, “but really I think it was just frustration from coming off a really good homestand and really just not even being in any of these ball games, just coming out flat and not being able to build on what we were about to build on (against) Seattle. That just all came out in the moment.”
According to Laura Armstrong, Blue Jays beat writer for the Toronto Star, an MLB spokesperson says the league is investigating the incident.
MLB spox says league is invistigating incident between Kevin Pillar and Jason Motte last night. #BlueJays
— Laura Armstrong (@lauraarmy) May 18, 2017
If Pillar did indeed use a homophobic slur—and I’m sure they’ll find out from the home plate umpire, if not Suzuki and Motte—Pillar will be looking at a suspension and a fine.
He’ll also be looking at a PR nightmare in the very LGBT-friendly Toronto, where he has been one of the most popular Blue Jays over the last few years.