Kevin Pillar apologized. He wants to learn from his mistake. He got suspended for two games by his employer, the Toronto Blue Jays, who deemed that he shouldn’t have yelled a homophobic slur at an Atlanta Braves pitcher.
Pillar may become repentant, but his statement immediately following the game is troubling. Pillar said his nasty words were said in the heat of the moment; they were part of the game.
No. They aren’t. They never should be. Such words are not acceptable anywhere, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t used in regular conversations. A lot of the feedback during this debate has come from foul-mouthed bigots who don’t believe Pillar should be punished.
Professional athletes get paid a lot of money. Some of them are reluctantly thrown into the positions of role models. Whether they accept that fact or not, there’s a responsibility for pro athletes to behave properly, especially in the heat of the moment.