At a time when certain NFL players have taken it upon themselves to take a stance against homophobia, it seems players in other leagues would do well to pay a little more attention.
Too bad to hear about Yunel Escobar. “Gay” is not something to be ashamed or insulted by, no matter what language you use. #equalityforall
— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) September 18, 2012
Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar made headlines Monday after appearing in Saturday night’s game with a homophobic slur written on his eye-black.
Sadly, this is hardly the first incident of its kind, as homophobic and racist slurs are all too commonly used as insults in the world of professional sports.
Back in April, Los Angeles Lakers all-star guard Kobe Bryant found himself in hot water to the tune of a $100,000 fine after directing a homophobic slur towards an official on the court during a game.
Less and month following Bryant’s incident, Chicago Bulls centre was fined $50,000 for uttering the same offensive word to a fan in the stands during a game.
Less than four months after that, New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire followed suit and was forced to pay $50,000 by the league for directing the same slur towards a fan on Twitter.
In 2009, Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson was suspended and told to "stay away from the team" after using homophobic slurs on the same popular social networking website.
Two years prior, former Miami Heat star Tim Hardaway was banished by NBA commissioner David Stern from the upcoming all-star events in Las Vegas after making the infamous statement "I hate gay people" on a Miami sports talk radio show.
Oft outspoken Miami Marlins (White Sox at the time) manager Ozzie Guillen earned himself a stint in sensitivity training after using a gay slur to insult a local columnist on 2006. He later apologized to the gay community, but not the writer himself.
In April of this year, MLB suspended Guillen for five games after he professed his love for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. To the surprise of no one, his remarks outraged the Miami’s large anti-Castro Cuban population.
John Rocker became infamous in the baseball world more than a decade ago for hurling ethnic and anti-gay slurs as often as a pitcher hurls fastballs. He used nearly every platform available to him at the time, and never showed signs of regret for the astoundingly offensive things he said with regularity.
Unfortunately this is just a small snippet of similar incidents. Fortunately, on the other side of the coin are players like Minnesota Vikings kicker Chris Kluwe who uses the many avenues players have to express opinions as a way to send a positive message of equality and acceptance.