Oakland Athletics’ Outfielder Matt Joyce did something incredibly stupid.
After getting robbed of a hit by a great defensive play, Joyce got in a shouting match with a rival fan, but that was only the beginning of his problems.
In the heated exchange, Joyce said something that landed him a two-game suspension.
Joyce used an anti-gay slur in his back-and-forth with a Los Angeles Angels fan. He shouldn’t have done it, but the incident was exacerbated by a photographer who overhead the spat.
Matt Joyce of the Oakland Athletics reportedly used a homophobic slur while shouting at an Angels fan Friday night, according to an Associated Press photographer who overheard the exchange.
The exchange with the fan happened immediately after [a] play, when Angels first-baseman C.J. Cron laid out to rob Joyce of a hit.
From the ESPN report:
As Joyce returned to the dugout, he uttered several profanities at the fan, called him an anti-gay slur and challenged him to fight, according to AP photographer Mark J. Terrill, who overheard the exchange. Terrill said he did not hear the first part of the exchange.
After the game, Joyce was asked about the exchange with the fan. He didn’t address the use of the slur directly, but explained the sequence as he remembered it:
“It’s just one of those things that fans kind of get into the game. Obviously, we’re pretty frustrated on our side, and I had just hit a ball hard and had Cron make a good play,” Joyce said after the game. “I was walking back to the dugout and just had a fan yell some vulgar and obscene words. For me, it just wasn’t the right time to say some stuff like that. I fired back, and obviously as soon as you fire back, you regret saying anything, because it’s just not worth it.”
Joyce acknowledged the mistake, and was much more contrite after the MLB levied a two-game suspension.
More from Deadspin:
Now Major League Baseball has suspended Joyce for two games following the incident.
Joyce took to Twitter Saturday night to supplement comments he made immediately after the game, and offered a more specific apology.
Joyce is also quoted on the team’s website expressing regret and embarrassment for his choice of words:
“I let the emotions and frustrations really get the better of me there,” Joyce said. “Obviously said some words that should never be said. There’s no excuse, no good excuse for that kind of language to be said and ever used.”
“It kind of comes with the territory,” Joyce said. “There’s no tolerance for that with baseball and obviously with the Oakland A’s and the great community that we have in the Bay Area. It’s embarrassing to me and my family. I was raised a lot better.”
Joyce will reportedly participate in an outreach program with PFLAG, a “family and ally organization” supporting the LGBTQ community.
Joyce isn’t the only player to get cracked with a suspension this season for an anti-gay insult.
More from Deadspin:
You will remember, back in May Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar was investigated by MLB and ultimately suspended for two games and fined after he hurled a homophobic slur at Braves pitcher Jason Motte during a game.
It’s a reminder that, for all the celebrating that happens when a current or former athlete publicly comes out, the world of American professional sports is still not a particularly friendly place for homosexual athletes.
Joyce was wrong for saying what he said, but it’s a stretch to suggest his comments prove sports are hostile toward homosexuals.
Sports are hostile toward everyone. Fans and opposing players can be ruthless, saying any and every thing to get a rise out of an opponent.
Nothing is off limits: legal troubles, deaths in the family, marital issues, illnesses, et cetera.
Former SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam was accepted by his college teammates at Missouri, and subsequently other gay football players have come out to show support among their compatriots.
What Joyce said was insensitive, but it was just that: insensitive. Not indicative of rampant homophobia.
The fact that a photographer felt the need to report what Joyce said to higher-ups shows a troubling sign of growing left-wing authoritarianism and thought policing.
A similar incident recently happened when Lena Dunham reported to American Airlines that she allegedly overheard two employees say that transgenderism was “gross” while walking through the airport.
American Airlines couldn’t substantiate the claim.
Comedienne Chelsea Handler took PC authoritarianism a step further when she suggested people should be jailed for making inappropriate comments.
2 Chinese guys were arrested in Berlin for making nazi salutes. Wouldn’t it be nice 2 have laws here for people who think racism is funny?
Ironic, considering she’s no stranger to un-PC comedy:
Punishing people for wrong think is a dangerous trend, because it will always boomerang back.