Chris O’Meara/Associated Press
Kevin Pillar and the Toronto Blue Jays issued statements Thursday apologizing for the gay slur the outfielder called Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte during a shouting match Wednesday.
Pillar released his statement on Twitter:
“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. I am completely and utterly embarrassed and feel horrible to have put the 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.”
The Blue Jays said they were “extremely disappointed” in Pillar’s behavior and said he is a “high-character individual we hope will learn from this situation.”
“In no way is this kind of behavior accepted or tolerated, nor is it a reflection of the type of inclusive organization we would like to be,” the statement read in part.
Television cameras showed Pillar clearly using a gay slur in the direction of Motte after the Blue Jays reliever struck him out. Motte’s third strike came on a bit of a quick pitch, and Pillar took exception after swinging at the ball out of the strike zone.
Both benches cleared briefly, but the situation did not escalate. Neither player was thrown out of the game.
“He didn’t do anything wrong, it was on me,” Pillar told reporters after the game. “It’s something to learn from, something to move on from. Don’t let it define me. It was immature, it was stupid, it was uncalled for.
“It’s part of the game … I’m a competitive guy and [it was] heat of the moment,” he added. “Obviously I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to reach out and apologize and let him know he didn’t do anything wrong. It was all me.”
Major League Baseball told Gabe Lacques of USA Today that it is investigating the incident.