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Sports Brief: A's outfielder apologizes for gay slur

by Roger Brigham

A's outfielder Matt Joyce
A's outfielder Matt Joyce  

Oakland A's outfielder Matt Joyce was suspended by Major League Baseball for two games after calling an Angels fan a faggot in a heated exchange during last Friday night's game in Anaheim. He apologized for the homophobic remark the next day.

In a series of seven Twitter postings, Joyce said he wanted to "apologize to the fans, the Oakland A's, MLB and most importantly the LGBTQ community for my comments and actions. A fan yelled vulgar and obscene words about me and my family and I let my frustrations and emotions get the better of me. I am beyond sorry for the inappropriate language that I used and understand and agree that those words should NEVER come out of someone's mouth no matter the situation. Anyone who knows me will tell you that incident it is not reflective of me as a person, how I treat others, how I live my life and that those hurtful words are not my views. I fully support and hope to help the LGBTQ community with their efforts in being treated fairly and intend to let my actions speak louder than anything more that can be said about this truly regrettable moment."

ESPN reported that the A's were donating $54,000 of Joyce's lost pay to PFLAG.

The A's said they were "very disappointed by the comments Joyce made to a fan. This language is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our team. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and expect our entire organization to live up to higher standards. We appreciate that Matt is contrite about his conduct and know he will learn from this incident."

The A's might consider that they should eject fans who are so verbally abusive that they forgo the privilege of a seat. But overall, everyone involved seems to have dealt with the language issue appropriately.

Well, just about everyone. Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling wasn't really involved but that did not stop him for once again adding his two homophobic cents worth on Twitter.

"A 'probe'? Seriously," the twit tweeted. "He said something stupid, in the heat of the moment. That's 'probe' worthy? #snowflakes."

Look, dude: nobody accused Joyce of being a homophobic monster, although you yourself certainly have offended many people with your homophobic, sexist, and transphobic rants in the past and the best defense you've ever come up with for your rabid slime is that some of your kids' best friends are gay. It is a reality that bigoted comments are offensive, and repeatedly bigoted comments have wounded vulnerable youth.

A pro team such as the A's is an institution, fitting in the permanent fabric of its territory and even serving as a leader, morally and otherwise, of that territory. Ditto the league in which it plays. They are supposed to reflect the best of us.

In contrast, players are transient residents, working a job in the industries of their choice but most often not in the locations of their choice. It is understandable that they will come from a complex mix of backgrounds.

It is the duty of the franchise to communicate clearly the social standards expected of those athletes and to enforce the values that team is supposed to embrace, value and represent. In this day and age in sports, those values include acceptance, compassion and inclusion. Those are values our country, our state, and most of all, our local community are supposed to stand for.

So yeah, Curt, totally worth checking out the facts and taking steps to help make it so.




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