Since I returned yesterday from an in some ways traumatizing but hopefully ultimately successful apartment hunt, all I’ve been hearing about is Yunel Escobar and his homophobic eye black.
I don’t want to get all high and mighty about this, because I’d be a serious hypocrite if I did. I think gay jokes can be funny, much like I think blind/ethnic/whatever jokes can be funny. I’ve been known to playfully call a friend a homo a time or two for admitting to liking that Call Me Maybe song, for instance. At the right time and in the right situation between people who know what the deal is, that kind of thing is fine…to me at least. Not everyone may agree, but such is life. That’s how I operate, and so far, knowing when to say what to who has kept me nicely out of trouble.
And in that last sentence lies the key to this whole thing. Knowing when to say what to who…that obviously didn’t happen here. Not by miles and miles and miles.
Yunel Escobar, for writing the words “you’re a faggot” on his face and keeping it there during a baseball game being played in front of thousands of people in person (Carin and I included) and lord knows how many more watching on television, is a moron. This cannot be disputed. Even if we allow for the possibility that somebody else wrote it and Escobar didn’t notice, we’re still dealing with at least one nuclear weapons grade fucking imbecile here, we just don’t know who it is. But even if that’s what happened (and I have my doubts it is), I’ve got no sympathy for poor Yunel. I might have, had that press conference of his not taken place.
I have gay friends. My hairdresser is gay. My decorator is gay. All of this may be true, but seriously dude, just shut the fuck up. Do you realize the kind of hole you’re digging for yourself here? Could you possibly get any more stereotypical?
I understand all the free speech arguments I’ve heard a few people make. In a way I see where they’re coming from, but there are definitely times when free speech has its limits. Again, it’s all about time and place. If I want to call somebody an ass pirate here, I probably can. Unless it’s a case of laws I run the risk of violating, I largely control the content round these parts. But if, back in my radio days, I used that same ass pirate line on the air when not very very carefully quoting somebody for a really good reason, my radio days would have come to an abrupt end, and rightfully so. There are just certain things that you don’t say or do in the wrong public context, and there are good reasons for that. Scribbling “TU ERE MARICON” across your face is one of those things, no matter how harmless or normal it is around your baseball buddies or what it may or may not mean to a small subset of people. Much as we all like baseball, we’re not all your field pals in the same way. Leaving that on your head is a monumentally bad idea in the same way that me telling that really great dumper pumper with AIDS joke at an HIV conference would be a monumentally bad idea.
Now the question everybody is asking is did he get off too easily? That’s a tough one. If you want to look at it from purely an official punishment standpoint, then yeah, he probably did. He’s sitting out 3 games (two of which are today), and he’s been fined anywhere from $80,000 to $90,000 depending on who you listen to. For a guy on a contract that’s paying him several million dollars for a few years work, that’s pocket change. It’s like one of you asking me to spot you a hundred and knowing I’m not getting it back. If that’s all he’s getting for being this retarded and causing that much of a shitstorm for his organization, then sure. Way too easy. But if you think this is going to stop dogging him or the team come Friday, you’re insane. I have no idea how bad things will be, but if this doesn’t help run him out of town, I’ll be a little surprised. It might not happen right away, but this one is big. It’s not your average sports scandal. Last night it made the CTV national newscast ahead of the sentencing of a mass murderer, for christ’s sake! Say what you want about poor editorial judgment, but even Rogers is treating it like a top story and they own the team and most of the entities that cover it. It has legs, and unless a whole lot of people suddenly come down with a case of collective memory loss, it’s not going away.
There’s a good chance I saw Yunel Escobar’s last game as a Blue Jay on Saturday. Don’t let what was announced fool you. Who knows. We could see him again, but if you’re a fan of his, you’d better enjoy him while you can. His replacement, even though he’s a rookie, is already here.