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Yunel Escobar and the homophobic eye black

Sep 17, 2012, 5:26 PM EDT

Because he’s bad at baseball,* Yunel Escobar has long been widely derided by fans of any team he’s played for.  But now there is a reason for the rest of us to loathe him. He’s quite possibly a homophobic jackass.

Caught by Jays fan @james_in_to and featured over at the Drunk Jays Fan blog, pictures taken of Yunel Escobar on Saturday clearly show that he’s wearing eye black stickers on which he — or someone else, which is why I used the “quite possibly” above — wrote the words “TU ERE MARICON,” which translates to “you are a fa**ot.”  As @james_in_to explains, in some cases it can mean “you are a p***y,” but the former is more widely accepted as the meaning.

The pic at the link is a closeup, but you can see it in this Getty Images photo as well:


Whether it was Escobar who did it or someone else, it’s evidence of a severe and odious lack of maturity.  And I hope someone in Major League Baseball HQ takes notice and then takes action.

UPDATE: MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that they are looking into the situation.


*Fine, you’re right that was a cheap shot. He’s bad this year, but he’s generally been a good player. Normally I’d delete that, but enough people have commented on it that to do so now would be unfair of me. I’ll own up to my displeasure with him in this instance making me say something inaccurate about the guy.

150 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. mackie66 - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Spanish is not a language u are familiar with, so climb off ure stump and report om baseball news which this article is not.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      While I am not a speaker, I am familiar. Not that that matters. Anyone who is fluent in Spanish can attest to the meaning.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:06 PM

        I’ll be honest; I didn’t give it much thought. I’m kind of naive in that way. I’d like to think that the less attention (or importance) we pay to these things the better our chances that maybe our kids will grow up in a world where people won’t say racial or homophobic slurs and others will stop trying to find offense in every little phrase they run across (especially when they aren’t even the target).

        I often find both sides quite overbearing; both those who insist on being racist/homophobic/stupid, and the language vigilantes. I think people don’t realize that a lot of these folks are fringe elements at best and if we keep fanning the flames these things will stay alive. Sometimes we just need to stop giving stuff press and let it die. Other times they do have to be fought against (when they try to make it into law for example).

        As for the specific case: I have no idea what was the reason behind painting that stuff on his eyes. But without knowing the particulars I can’t condemn him. Still at best, he his causing himself undue problems because he has to know the culture in the US is still very heavily charged and people will find offense anywhere they want to see it. In Winter Ball that stuff may be par for the course but it doesn’t fly in MLB.

        The phrase itself depends a LOT on context. It can be homophobic or it can be a reference to calling someone a wimp and it depends on who you say it to. In Latin America, male groups who are buddies/pals might use that phrase between themselves just to rag on each other or for emphasis and everyone in the group knows it isn’t personal and shouldn’t be taken as offense. Vulgarity and colorful phrases are the stuff of male bonding in close knit groups.

      • daviddmsvcp - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        Craig, I see in your article where you said, “But now there is a reason for the rest of us to loathe him.”

        Hmm, really? You want me to hate this guy? Are you 16 years old?

    • djpostl - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Lol, ignorant ass comment.

      Google translate can get the job done, but even beyond that it isn’t hard to find plenty of people who are familiar with it who indicate it is far more likely to have been f***ot than p***y.

      Once MLB gets involved we’ll see about you’re “this isn’t about baseball” position too.

      If it offends you to see it mentioned, go stare at some box scores imo.

    • Old Gator - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      mackie, English appears not to be a language “u” are familiar with either, so why not go back to “ure” basement and converse with your other illiterate friends on Twitter instead of getting in over your head here on Circling the Bases?

    • kevinleaptrot - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:16 PM

      mackie66, if it happens on the baseball field it’s about baseball. This is reprehensible regardless of the language in which it was written. And judging from your post, you know less about english that Craig knows about spanish, so maybe it’s you who needs to climb off or your stump, and back under the rock from which you came, you cousin humping hillbilly.

    • pjmarn6 - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:43 PM

      It’s childish and the man should not be playing baseball and making millions of dollars. Baseball, ethics, morals and manners has been lost. We don’t want to see these cheap shots and surprise, surprise, we want to see what prowess players have in playing the game.

    • pjmarn6 - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:46 PM

      Like anything else, when you try and decipher something said in a foreign language, it is when it is said, how it is said, what meaning is implied and who is it intended to affect.

      It probably means I am top dog and all the rest of you are weiners.

      • mazblast - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:31 AM

        Even that would be pretty freaking stupid to say.

  2. chill1184 - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Well this thread was entertaining. All we need now is some birtherism, where is barrywhereareyoufrom? Havent seen him in a while.

  3. djpostl - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Lost in all of this is how the people of Toronto will feel about all of this. The place is pretty damn liberal & open-minded.

    Same sex marriage is legal, public officials openly participate in gay pride events without having to fear it’ll cost them politically.

    Don’t see this story going over too well.

    • TestSubjekt - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      FWIW our mayor is not one of those that openly participates in gay pride events. He chooses to go up north to his cottage instead.

  4. ningenito78 - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Anybody that has ever worked with or knew a Latino would know the word ‘maricon’ is thrown around as loosely as anything. I highly doubt it was meant as an attack on the homosexual population. But seriously, Craig why has hardball talk cut back so much on posts lately?

    • kingofmeh - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:40 PM

      anybody who works around high school boys would know the word “faggot” is thrown around pretty loosely, and that the intended meaning may range from “homosexual,” to “sissy,” to “jerk.”

      that doesn’t mean that “faggot” is a word that a professional ought to wear on his body at his workplace. that doesn’t mean that the word “faggot” loses its impact even when it is not being used specifically to deride gay men.

      “maricon” and “faggot” are very much equivalent terms.

  5. Old Gator - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Glad you’re here, trailer trash. The level at which this discussion was being conducted was making me dizzy, and your lowlife interjection brings it back down to where there’s enough methane to be breathable.

    • Old Gator - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      Ah – the post I was originally responding to was deleted. Craig, why not delete these two of mine also? They could be interpreted as referring to someone above.

  6. skeleteeth - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:58 PM

  7. ningenito78 - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Saying ‘maricon’ means ‘faggot’ is loose. It also is a way of calling somebody a wimp or sissy. So everybody take it down a notch.

  8. realgone2 - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    My friend Dario is from Mexico and he said that it can mean wimp or sissy. Though that wouldn’t stop Craig from getting an opportunity get on the PC soap box.

    • djpostl - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      “can mean wimp or sissy”

      Could that possibly because gays are viewed as wimps or sissies. Just because people bastardize a word out of ignorance does not change it’s actual meaning.

      • realgone2 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:33 AM

        That is one stupid reply. Queer used to mean strange or out of the ordinary and had no relation to being gay. Well just like the word gay which just used to mean happy. When I think of wimp I just think of a weak person. I do not think of a homosexual. Would you have him rather put Butt Pirate on his eye black? That way we wouldn’t be having this debate.

    • indaburg - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM

      The general accepted interpretation of the word maricon is “faggot.” I was born in the US, but Spanish is my first language.

  9. randygnyc - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Kevinleaptrot- how is calling someone a cousin humpin hillbilly different than calling someone a faggot?

    • djpostl - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      It’s debatable to some silly people as to whether one actually chosoes to be gay…but it’s 100% by choice of you start mountin’ cousin Ellie Mae.

      Just sayin’ =P

  10. cur68 - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    I’d like Hatrballtalk back, please. This civics and first amendment post is being frequented by some very drunk people (one of whom appears to be from my country. This makes me sad. think of the Beavers, man! What Would The Beavers Do? Not drink and post, that’s what!) and some deeply ignorant sods, too.
    I’m not spanish fluent at all, but I do believe the proposed interpretation of “Maricon” is too narrow. He might be just saying “wimp” etc. Pretty ambiguous. Either way, Yunel’s got some ‘splainin’ todo, ay, ay, ay…

  11. lukeastuta - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    For the record, Yunel was (I only saw was because of what he just did) a fan favourite in Toronto. He’s not “derided” by the fans here for his play on the field, and as others have pointed out, he’s not a bad baseball player

    But congratulations on using this unfortunate situation as a spring-board to troll for page views. As if what he wrote on his eyeblack wasn’t disgusting enough, we have that sentiment from you

  12. 1flyboy1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    First of all, how dumb is Yunel Escobar? Did he think no-one would know what message was written? I knew exactly what it meant as soon as I saw what was scribbled on the eye black. And the word in question is NOT translated in any other way but homophobic. Maricon is extremely homophobic. It’s more blatant than fa**ot because it’s specifically saying “you’re a gay/lesser man (ie. gay).” That is literally what it means.

    Like…….what were the Blue Jays thinking? What was anyone thinking to allow Yunel to go on the field with this on? I am truly astounded. You would really think SOMEONE would know better…………but they don’t.

    It’s things like this why there aren’t and won’t be any out gay players anytime soon.

  13. jimeejohnson - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    To letter that well he must be good with nail polish.

  14. ningenito78 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Holy shit you guys killing him now are just insisting the word has a straight meaning of faggot with absolutely no regard for context. And no, wimp or sissy doesn’t mean GAY. Could you possibly have gone for a bigger stretch? Now those 2 words are derogatory too? Some of you guys are making this what you WANT it to be instead of what it actually is.

    • 1flyboy1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:56 PM

      Nothing justifies what happened. The fact that this is even a debate is a problem. The fact we’re having this discussion in the first place means Yunel Escobar screwed up. And maricon means you’re less of a man/you’re a queer. That is what it means. It can be said he meant that as a joke, or a teammate did it as a joke, but the word used is the word used.

  15. ningenito78 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    I’m officially done following this thread. You fucking people want it to be Yunel Escobar went ahead and decided to call the gay community a bunch of faggots on his eye black and really don’t give a shit what context he meant it in because now everybody here is apparently a Latino culture and speech expert. Go ask a Latino what they mean when they say ‘Maricon’ and you will get 10 different answers. You tunnel vision, pitch fork carrying idiots.

    • Old Gator - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM

      You forgot to mention that we’re all wearing cowled robes, carrying torches and chanting the Lyke-Wake dirge, while Kenneth Mars with his monocle and wooden arm leads us resolutely uphill to the castle where Yunel Escobar’s unnatural experiments are being conducted.

  16. astrosfan75956 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    That doesn’t mean pussy its a gay slur. Duh

  17. charlutes - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Craig is just fighting gender equality by any means necessary, even if it means wrongfully using baseball stats. As a baseball blogger that’s his job…oh wait.

  18. charlutes - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    by gender quality I meant equal rights. I better pass this dubber.

  19. billgatesbarber - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    When did cousin humping get such a bad rap?

  20. bronxbomber213 - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    I mean he could have just put Leviticus 18:22 on his eye black if he’s trying to convey his reasons for opposing gays…maybe Romans 1:22-32 or Leviticus 20:13 but my question is does anyone know the reason the word faggots (a bundle of sticks used to fuel a fire) is used to describe gays? just curious as to the opinions on that?

    • 1flyboy1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      Because gay men were burned at the stake in earlier centuries.

      I don’t think Yunel was trying to be anti-gay. He (and/or his teammates) are just not bright.

      • skeleteeth - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:05 AM

        In the Louise CK video I posted above they discuss just that. Witches were burned at the stake but homosexuals were considered subhuman so they threw them in with the kindling, or faggots as you stated.

  21. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    He’s such a silly sailor!

  22. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    I’m getting al silly just think’n about it all!

  23. cosanostra71 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    In all honesty, I could care less about this. I’ve spent enough time in locker rooms to know the prevalence of the word faggot. Maybe that’s bad because it means I’ve been numbed to it, but I feel like this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  24. mazblast - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    In my long-ago days studying Spanish and in my almost as long ago days of actually using it from time to time on the job, I never heard “maricon” used as the word for “p***y”. The most common word I heard in Spanish for that was “pendejo”. “Maricon” was used for various things ranging from “not very manly” to “flaming homosexual”, usually closer to the latter than the former. Calling a man that to his face was a triple-dog-dare invitation to a fight.

    Escobar is an OK player, talented but nothing special. He has a lousy attitude and little chance of being with the Jays next year. I doubt that he’ll be missed very much. I also doubt that he’ll wind up with the Giants.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      I wouldn’t recommend using the word “Pendejo” in front of Mexicans. It’s considered far worse than “Maricon”. In front of Venezuelans though it’s a light insult. And in Argentina that word is used to refer to children in an affectionate. The lesson here is don’t think you’ve figured out the meaning of the word in Spanish because slang varies greatly from Country to Country.

  25. ningenito78 - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Old Gator you are a man amongst boys here, my friend. Bottom line is that regardless of what each and every person apparently decided what Escobar meant by what he put on his eye black (there’s something I never though I’d say) nobody knows the context. We can sit here and debate whether or not his INTENTIONS were to attack the homosexual community (think about that for a second. Seriously. Think about the fact we’re debating another man’s intentions) but none of us know for sure. Anybody that’s been in a locker room environment or even a freakin night out with guy friends when they were in their 20s has said/heard the word ‘faggot’ used in a way that was not meant to attack the gay community. If you haven’t, well I don’t know how else to explain it. But anybody here that can honestly say they NEVER used a derogatory term in a joking manner with their friends is at BEST a liar. I will say this: if Yunel Escobar sat down before the game and decided that he hated gays and was going to make a profound statement by putting his feelings on his eye black, then yes, he is a person that needs a serious sensitivity overhaul. But can we, just for a second, stop acting like because we’re debating on a message board we need to suddenly lose sight of the facts? That he’s a 20 something year old ball player that lives in a setting ruled by young men that really don’t think about one goddamn point that was argued here today? The most likely scenario is somebody either played a prank on him or he lost a bet and that’s what happened. It wasn’t some grand statement on his feelings toward homosexuality. From the lips of a Great American Hero: this is the pussification of America at its finest. The Mariconation if you will. I use the term Great American Hero loosely.

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