For Pete's Sake

Toronto outfielder Kevin Pillar apologizes for directing gay slur at Braves pitcher

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar. The Associated Press

Toronto outfielder Kevin Pillar apologized Thursday for using a gay slur during Wednesday’s game at Atlanta.

In the seventh inning, Braves pitcher Jason Motte quick-pitched Pillar, who struck out to end the top of the inning. As Motte walked off the mound, Pillar said something that made catcher Kurt Suzuki and Motte each stop and look back at Pillar.

A close-up of Pillar shows he appeared to use a gay slur. After the game, Pillar was contrite, telling reporters, “It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for.”

On Thursday, Major League Baseball said it was investigating Pillar’s remarks. The Blue Jays put out a statement condemning Pillar’s actions.

“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,” the statement said. “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 out 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 this situation and continue to positively contribute and live up to our values on and off the field.”

On Thursday afternoon, Pillar apologized via a message he shared on social media.

“Last night, following my at-bat in the 7th inning, I used inappropriate towards Braves pitcher Jason Motte,” Pillar wrote. “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.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff