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Latino Players Not Happy With Yunel Escobar's Suspension & Fine

Sep 24, 2012 | Updated Nov 24, 2012

"The suspension is the result of his decision to display an unacceptable message, " the Blue Jays said in a statement. "The Blue Jays want to reaffirm that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated."

My question, did anyone speak to Yunel Escobar through an efficient interpreter? This statement does not reflect what Yunel tried to explain through again, some very bad translations at the press conference. He tried to explain that it was a bad joke because in Spanish the word Maricón is used in many other situations. He did not mean it against anyone in the Gay community.

I contacted the Baseball Players Association because I wanted to hear their official take on this. Unfortunately, they never called back. So basically it was Yunel against everyone, including his own union. I wrote my piece (Lost In Translation on this site), but since all I continued to hear was one sided, I wanted to see if it was just me feeling that it was "overkill" for Yunel, or was I sensitive to what Yunel was trying to say?

So the following day I went over to Yankee stadium to see what was the atmosphere the day after the Blue Jays press conference with their young shortstop.

I am always curious to talk the day after big happenings because I found that usually the day after people are a bit more informed and speak a bit more freely when the press is not circling like vultures. I saw the press conference and it looked more like a tribunal before the World Court in The Hague rather than a press conference in The Bronx. The only difference was that Yunel had no defense other than his own admission and guilt for doing such a stupid thing.

However, this whole episode of one player took on the tone of a much broader issue, which is sometimes the case when it comes to certain ethnic communities, or powerful sectors in this country. The accusation that his statement was "Gay Bashing" and an insult to the Gay community as some have alluded to is a bit much for me. I also found that his three-day suspension was unfair.

If Yunel' comments would have been in English I would definitely not be writing this piece and would also be hounding Yunel as well. I grew up with a sister who was a Lesbian way before it was popular to come out the closet. I was by the deathbed till the end when my close family friend, Lorenzo passed on due to AIDS. I know and feel for the Gay community because it is as much my community as my Latino ethnicity. There is not one Latino family that does not have a family member, or very close friend who is gay. So as conservative as some might want to make us to be, the reality is that we are quite open when it comes to the Gay community. However, I believe Yunel when he stated that his action was not aimed at the Gay community.

My previous piece, "Lost In Translation" explaining what Yunel could not explain at his press conference and what no-one seemed to understand namely: in Spanish the word "Maricón" is a frequently used as a person, place or thing as "f--k" is in English. Therefore, I was interested in seeing the aftermath of the press conference and suspension especially when the Latino Press (except for a few) were no different than the Anglo press.

I arrived at the stadium early as the press was only given one-hour access to the Clubhouse, 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM due to the doubleheader because of the Tuesday night suspension due to the extreme weather conditions in New York. I patiently waited outside the entrance to the visitors Clubhouse for the Blue Jays to arrive. After a few minutes the passageway was crowded with players all coming in together. As I stood there trying to make out some of them, I heard one ask the guard: "¿Oye, esta el Maricón de barbero?" The literal translation is (hey, is the faggot barber in?). All the Spanish speaking players that heard him, including myself and the security guard could not help but laughed because we all knew what he meant and it was not an "anti gay remark." Now if that player would have said that in English, of if a reporter who does not understand our culture, but who understands Spanish would have heard him, perhaps another press conference would be held to suspend another player.

I then went over to Blue Jays veteran and statesman, Omar Visquel's locker. I asked him about the incident. He told me what he had told some reporters (which I have not heard anyone report), "that in our culture, in Spanish the word has a much different meaning."

I then went over to the Yankees Clubhouse. There I spoke to several players that were gathered around Robinson Cano's locker and others that were passing by. They were all talking about the incident. They all were bothered by what occurred. Like me, they thought it was not smart for Yunel to do what he did, but they all felt that a three game suspension for a word that has a different meaning in Spanish was wrong. One even pulled out his IPad to read the definition of the word from the official Spanish language experts in the "Mother country" Spain. He read it out loud and it basically stated what we all knew: that the word Maricón could also have other meanings.

They were also bothered by the Latino press who they felt could have helped to clarify the situation since they should understand the culture more than a non-Latino would. In the end I left the stadium seeing how two cultures playing America's so called "pastime" could be so far apart off the field.

What your take? Let me know.

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