Last year, Jays shortshop Yunel Escobar was a starter on my fantasy team. But when his batting average dropped about 50 points early this season, I cut him after a couple months. And whenever I watch the Jays this year, it seems that he’s always arguing balls and strikes, and trying to show up the ump. Not cool man, not cool. Mind you, that’s nothing compared to his latest stunt, taking the field with “You’re a faggot” written on his eyeblack.
Toronto Star readers are heavily divided on the issue, with 34 per cent saying he should receive no suspension, while 29 per cent want the MLB to throw the book at him, with a 20+ game ban. Seeing as Todd Bertuzzi got less than that for breaking a man’s neck in the NHL, I kinda doubt baseball will side with three out of 10 respondents to the Star poll. After all, they didn’t lift a finger when Ozzie Guillen said Castro was a sensitive man—in Miami, no less! If I were to predict the most-likely outcome, I’d probably side with the 34 per cent here.
After all, there is some confusion as to what the expression “Tu Ere Maricon” actually means. I’m no hispanohablante, but I did study the language for five years, and one thing I learned is that there are a lot of Spanish-speaking countries, each with their own interpretations and expressions. I have heard the word maricón used in the context of “wimp” or “pussy,” but according to a couple Cubanos interviewed by the Star, it most definitely refers to a homosexual man in Escobar’s homeland—so I don’t think it’s wrong to attribute the most offensive meaning in this case.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that it could have been done as a clubhouse prank by one of Escobar’s Spanish-speaking teammates, though I don’t know how someone could write on your face without you noticing—or looking in the mirror before taking the field. It’s more likely that it was meant as a message to Laz Diaz or another one of Yunel’s least-favourite árbitros. In any case, Escobar is set to address the media at 3:30 this afternoon. Perhaps as a mea culpa, he could write this on his eyeblack for the occasion:
(FWIW, I learned most of my Spanish slurs from Mexican-American grindcore band Brujeria. Not sure if it has the same meaning in Cuba, but pendejo definitely means asshole in Mexico. I’ve also heard the word culero, which is pretty much the same thing…)
UPDATE 4:50 pm: Escobar’s official defence, as quoted by the National Post, “It’s just something that’s been said amongst the Latinos,” Escobar said through the translator. “It’s not something that’s meant to be offensive…I didn’t do it to make anyone feel bad.” Funny, that. Even taking into account Escobar’s grammatical deficiencies, typing “tú eres maricón” into Google displays How do i say, “your gay” in spanish? – Yahoo! Answers, Urban Dictionary: maricon:faggot and a translation page that defines maricon as “fucking queer” as the top three results. If that’s not meant to be offensive, then I don’t know what is… (Oh, and Escobar got hit with a three-game suspension, BTW.)