Major League Baseball player Kevin Pillar, an outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, was suspended this week after yelling a gay slur at Braves pitcher Jason Motte during a game at SunTrust Park.
Pillar will be out for two games without pay, and must also pay an undisclosed fine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
He issued a public apology via Twitter on Thursday.
“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,” the post read. “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.”
Pillar said he was “completely and utterly embarrassed” by the remark, and will use this as an opportunity to better himself.
— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) May 18, 2017
The incident occurred after Motte struck out Pillar, who then turned around and called the pitcher “fag.”
Following the May 17 game, Pillar addressed the remark, calling it “stupid,” “immature” and “part of the game.”
“It was stupid. It was uncalled for,” he told media. “I’m a competitive guy. You know, heat of the moment. Obviously I’m going to do whatever I need to do to reach out and apologize. He didn’t do anything wrong. It was on me.”
The Blue Jays also issued a statement, saying the organization is “extremely disappointed” by Pillar’s comments.
“In no way is this kind of behavior 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,” the Blue Jays posted on Twitter Thursday. “We know [Pillar] to be a respectful, high-character individual who we hope will learn from this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field.”
Statement from the Toronto Blue Jays. https://t.co/ASZuzUM6RM
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 18, 2017
Fans took to social media to express both support of Pillar and thank him for his apology, as well to share their disappointment that of all remarks to make in the heat of the moment, it was that one he chose:
Anyone saying that people overreacting to Kevin pillar gay slur to Jason motte. Well we know who the homophobes are.
— Joel Thomas Scott (@JoelScottXray) May 19, 2017
— Glenn Taylor (@GlennTaylr) May 19, 2017
@KPILLAR4 Better statement: “Sadly this is who I am now, but I will work hard to change.”
— Michael Welch (@mawaubergine) May 19, 2017
— Scott Bowes (@bigcitybowz) May 19, 2017
— Jane Brown (@JaneBrownNews) May 19, 2017
Good to see that Kevin Pillar actually understands what he said is absolutely wrong. Many people fake being sorry about that kinda stuff.
— Avalanche Forever (@citchmook) May 19, 2017
— ATO Canada (@WannabeTO) May 19, 2017
@KPILLAR4 Thank you for accepting responsibility. You’re not Superman. You’re Clark Kent…. human.
— Tam Kai Vo (@tamkaivo) May 19, 2017
I think Kevin Pillar should be suspended indefinitely for reminding young gay people that they still aren’t welcome in professional sports.
— Zachary Ouellette (@zsouellette) May 19, 2017