Blue Jays substitute Anthony Bass apologizes for sharing homophobic social media post

TORONTO — Anthony Bass wants to reassure Toronto Blue Jays fans that baseball is for everyone.

The 35-year-old pitcher apologized on Tuesday, a day after he shared an Instagram reel in which a content creator made the “biblical argument” why Christians should boycott Bud Light and Target after they openly open the LGBTQ+ community had supported.

“I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends and close family and I am truly sorry,” Bass told media outside the Blue Jays’ shelter at the Rogers Centre . “I was just talking to my teammates yesterday and shared my actions with them. My apologies to them and I am now using the resources of the Blue Jays to further educate myself and make better decisions in the future.

“The baseball field is for everyone. We involve all the fans in the stadium and we want to welcome everyone.”

Bass did not answer questions from the media after the statement was made. Manager John Schneider answered several questions from reporters about Bass’ testimony in his regular pre-game media release.

Schneider said Bass first apologized to him and general manager Ross Atkins, and then, at Schneider’s request, the substitute apologized to the entire team.

“I think it was a really good thing that he showed responsibility. Of course we want everyone to feel welcome here in the stadium and in the league,” said Schneider in his office. “We as an organization will continue to do all the things that we have done with the Pride community in the past.

“It was good that Anthony came in and realized what he had done.”

Bass’ comments come days before the start of Pride Month, a week-long celebration of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community. Rainbow decorations have already been placed around Union Station, the downtown transportation hub less than 10 minutes’ walk from Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays issued a statement earlier Tuesday that the controversy will not derail their message of inclusivity, particularly in June.

“The Blue Jays bring together millions of fans across Canada and are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all,” the statement said. “The Blue Jays are proud to celebrate LGBTQ2S+ Pride Month, including a special fourth annual Pride weekend at the ballpark on June 9th and 10th and demonstrations of solidarity throughout the month around the ballpark.

“The feelings of individual players are not representative of the beliefs of the club.”

Pride Toronto chief executive Sherwin Modeste said he’s still looking forward to working with the Blue Jays in June.

“I have a strong belief that they are committed to this,” Modeste said. “I don’t think one player and their views will stop the Jays and organizations like Pride Toronto and others from spreading love.”

Modeste said that hatred of the LGBTQ+ community has increased across North America this year, and in that context, Bass’ decision to share the homophobic video is not surprising.

“A lot of times people think this is going to happen in the US, but it’s never going to happen in Canada,” Modeste said. “We saw this hate. We’ve seen the hatred towards the drag community. We’ve seen hatred for the trans community grow. We talked about that.”

Earlier this year, Bass sparked criticism when he took to Twitter to complain that a flight attendant had asked his pregnant wife to clean up the popcorn their toddler spilled on the floor during a flight.

Bass has also pitched for San Diego, Houston, Texas, the Chicago Cubs, Seattle and Miami over his 12 years in Major League Baseball. He’s 0-0 with a 4.50 earned run average in 20 games this season.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 30, 2023.



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