Yunel Escobar Eye Black Incident a Head-Scratcher, Regardless of Whether Shortstop Was ‘Misinterpreted’


Yunel Escobar Eye Black Incident a Head-Scratcher, Regardless of Whether Shortstop Was 'Misinterpreted'With each act of stupidity in the world today, it's becoming increasingly clear that the phrase "common sense" is teetering on the edge of becoming an oxymoron.

In Yunel Escobar's case, perhaps just "moron" will do the trick, because it's hard to walk away from the whole debacle with any thought other than, "How did he think that was a good idea?" And even that mindset requires you to wrap your head around the whole situation, which is a nearly impossible task.

Escobar, as you've probably heard, was suspended three games by the Blue Jays for wearing eye black that had a gay slur written on it. Brilliant, right?

Most English speaking baseball fans probably didn't catch Escobar's flub right away because the phrase was written in Spanish. The problem for Escobar, though, is that not all baseball fans, analysts and players are middle-aged white guys aimlessly burping and farting on their living room couches. Those guys exist, but baseball's massive Spanish speaking contingent ensured that Escobar's eye black incident didn't go unnoticed.

As bizarre as the whole situation is, it's Escobar's apparent oblivity in wearing the eye black that truly speaks to the oddity of the issue. Surely, Escobar must've realized that someone was going to catch on, right? If not, perhaps common sense is even more uncommon than we had originally thought.

Escobar's excuse for wearing the eye black actually seemed reasonable at first. The Blue Jays shortstop insisted that his use of the Spanish word — maricón — was "misinterpreted," something that's entirely possible when it comes to translating words and phrases to other languages. However, on what planet is it necessary to sport eye black with such a message, regardless of the actual translation he was shooting for?

Maria Cristina Cuervo, a Spanish professor at the University of Toronto, told the Toronto Star that it's a slur that doesn't exactly have a sexual component.

"I would take it as, 'You are like a girl. You're weak,'" Cuervo told the Star, according to Yahoo! Sports. "I don't curse much, so I don't know the appropriate level in English. It has to be something like 'wuss.'"

"Weak" and "wuss," huh? OK, well that's no so bad. But if the insult wasn't directed at anybody and was done for no apparent reason, why bother?

"I suppose people will use it in jest," Prof. Michelle Gonzalez, a Cuba expert at the University of Miami, told the Toronto Star doubtfully. "But that doesn't make it any less offensive."

It also doesn't make the whole situation any less stupid. Calling someone "weak" or "wuss" is obviously less severe than calling someone a gay slur, but again, if there's no rhyme or reason to wearing the eye black — as Escobar insisted — it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to go through with the whole thing.

"It's just been said around amongst the Latinos," Escobar told reporters Tuesday. "It's not something that's meant to be offensive. For us, it didn't have the significance in the way that's being interpreted. It's a word used often within teams. It's a word without meaning."

A word without meaning? That's funny, because there's plenty of other people who will tell you that the word has plenty of meaning, even if they have varying opinions on what exactly that meaning is. The problem is that the whole incident could have been avoided with a little bit of common sense.

That would have also required some forethought, though, and perhaps that's too much to ask.

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