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Blue Jays, Kevin Pillar issue public statements regarding use of homophobic slur

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Last night, Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar shouted a homophobic slur at Braves reliever Jason Motte. Pillar was upset that Motte had quick-pitched him. To Pillar’s credit, he owned up to his mistake immediately, saying, “It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for. 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.”

The Blue Jays issued a statement on Thursday. They said, “The Toronto Blue Jays are extremely disappointed by the comments made by Kevin Pillar following his at-bat during the 7th inning of last night’s game. In no way is this kind of behaviour accepted or tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we strive to be. We would like to extend our own apologies to all fans, Major League Baseball, and especially the LGBTQ community. We know Kevin to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from his situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field.”

Pillar made a statement of his own, which he posted on Twitter.

Last night, following my at-bat in the 7th inning, I used inappropriate language towards Braves pitcher Jason Motte. By doing so I had just helped extend the use of a word that has no place in baseball, in sports or anywhere in society today. I’m completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the fans, my teammates, and the Blue Jays organization in this position. I have apologized personally to Jason Motte, but also need to apologize to the Braves organization and their fans, and most importantly, to the LGBTQ community for the lack of respect I displayed last night. This is not who I am and will use this as an opportunity to better myself.

This is how you apologize. There was no, “I’m sorry I was misinterpreted” or, “I’m sorry you got offended.” Pillar took complete ownership of his mistake, showed us that he understands the consequences of using hate speech, and told us how he aims to improve himself as a human being. Major League Baseball should use Pillar’s statement as a shining example on how to handle oneself after one screws up.

Mike Napoli tore his ACL

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Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.

Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.

Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.