When a Crowd Becomes a Mob

It was Victoria Day in Canada and the Toronto Blue Jays were hosting the Rays of Tampa Bay. The word “hosting,” however, hardly applied to the treatment that one Yunel Escobar, the Rays shortstop, received, who was lustfully booed each time he came to the plate.  When he homered in the 9th inning, he was booed again for employing his signature gesture as he crossed home plate—stretching his arms out to indicate the “safe” sign. Cuban-born, Escobar does not speak English. Through a translator, he expressed his astonishment: “It’s something I do every time I cross home plate.” But that is not the reason for Escobar’s status as a pariah.

Crowds are usually forgiving to athletes and are willing to put aside any number of offences ranging from DUI, PED, torturing animals, sexual promiscuity, siring numerous children out of wedlock, and involuntary manslaughter. What was it that Señor Escobar did that was so grievous and unforgiving?

Prior to a game back in 2012, Escobar inscribed three Spanish words on the black tape that ballplayers place under their eyes as a shield against the glare of the sun: Tu Er Maricón.  According to my Spanish dictionary, this means, “You are a sissy.”  It was not directed to anyone and did not imply a particular sexual orientation.  Spanish players have admitted that they toss this phrase around with each other in a joking and non-offensive way both in the clubhouse and on the field.  Miami Marlins manager, Ozzie Guillen, avers that he and his children use it around the house all the time.

Yunel-Escobar_pressconferenceNo one noticed the words and it would have had a quiet death as a non-issue.  But a fan noticed it when he looked at a picture he had taken of Yunel Escobar. He immediately interpreted the words as homophobic, and contacted the Blue Jays organization. Action was swift and punitive. Instead of explaining to the shortstop that this kind of thing is unacceptable, the organization suspended him without pay and forced him to donate his lost salary of $87,000 to two homosexual organizations.  He was obliged to attend sensitivity-training classes and was traded before the season ended.  Escobar’s weak defense was that the words he used “were not meant to be offensive.”

When does a crowd become a mob?  For that matter, when does the public become a mob?  Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931) was the first to study the phenomenon of the crowd.  In his classic work, The CrowdA Study of the Popular Mind, he borrowed from Freud and likened the crowd to a “libido” acting without a “super-ego.”  He found that the actions of the crowd correspond to three dominant features:  anonymity, contagion, and suggestibility. The first, anonymity, combines a feeling of invincibility with a loss of responsibility, thereby leading to behavior that is primitive, emotional, and unreasonable.  Contagion refers to how easily this unreasonable behavior spreads within a crowd.  The third characteristic indicates how the crowd becomes homogeneous and malleable to suggestions made by influential sources.

Blessed John Paul II has made a comprehensive, powerful and timely contribution to the notion of the person as an integrated human being who thinks, knows, loves, understands, and behaves intelligently.  The authentic person is assuredly not part of a crowd.  For John Paul, the person is at the very center of culture.  The papacy has never been interested in turning Catholics into members of a crowd, but has always encouraged, with undiminished enthusiasm, the importance of thinking and being an authentic person.  The study of theology and philosophy is intended to produce strong individuals who are able to resist the lure of the popular mood.

In his book, Man Against Mass Society, Catholic convert Gabriel Marcel states that “the masses are of their very essence—I repeat, of their very essence—the stuff of which fanaticism is made:  propaganda has on them the convulsive effect of an electric shock.”  Marcel lived at a time when dictators were propagandizing people into the equivalent of a crowd, stripping them of both intelligence and love. Today, the Mass Media has, to a certain extent replaced the dictator. At the same time, political correctness had replaced Christian morality. The persuasive power of the Media to turn individuals into members of a crowd is painfully evident with regard to the abortion issue as well as the promotion of the homosexual agenda.  T. S. Eliot noted this power of the Media to standardize people, in one of his poems when he wrote:

The readers of the Boston Evening Transcript
Sway in the wind like a field of ripe corn.

The Escobar incident is not about three words in Spanish that were directed toward and offended no-one.  It is about the power of the Media to assist in rendering people anonymous, homogeneous, and suggestible. This surely bodes ill for democracy. Political correctness, the morality of the Media, is not enlightening, but controlling. Its promotion of tolerance as a virtue is obviously a sham. The Toronto crowd was not displaying any tolerance for Escobar’s conduct;  it was exhibiting its own intolerance, and in a way that was cruel, merciless, and unforgiving.  It may be the very definition of hypocrisy to demand tolerance while offering none.

The Media and the Catholic Church are at opposite poles with regard to the development of the human being. The Media urges those dominant characteristics that were outlined by Gustave Le Bon. The Church urges personal authenticity. Jacques Maritain expressed it well when he said, noting the indispensable importance of truth:  “It would be foolish intolerance to label as intolerance any affirmation of truth which is not watered down with doubt, even if it does not please some of our democratic fellow-citizens. I insist as forcefully as T. S. Eliot that the Christian leaven is necessary to the life and integration of our culture.”

Donald DeMarco


Donald DeMarco, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow of Human Life International who writes for the St. Austin Review and the Truth and Charity Forum. He is Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario and adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT.

  • Conniption Fitz

    Those groups demanding tolerance are really the most intolerant.

    • Reets46

      Amen. There is no one more controlling than those on the Left. They see themselves as “tolerant”, and you’re OK as long as you agree with them. Their government policies are all about controlling others through taxes, public school curriculum, and endless laws that take away our freedoms. Just look at the suppression of the freedom of the press that has been brought to our attention in the past weeks. Control, control, control. We just need to control the speech of conservatives through IRS intimidation, control the press through government snooping and punish athletes who dare to express themselves in a way the MIGHT be construed as homophobic.

  • Steven Jonathan

    Devastating and bizarre that his words are so costly and a glaring indicator of a society badly out of moral order. To be honest though, the words on his face mean “you’re a
    faggot” here in California and in Mexico. I imagine it means the same in
    Cuba. Still, the guillotine for a slur?

    • Reets46

      Yes, my husband who works in construction with many Hispanic laborers does confirm that. But does the punishment fit the crime? Huge fines and a total uprooting of this mans family? Pretty scary. Political correctness is the new tyranny.

      • Steven Jonathan

        the reaction is outrageous- He probably shouldn’t have had that on his face, but the punishment so incommensurate as to be literally insane. To coerce him to take sensitivity training? To give thousands to LGBT? To suspend him? Outrageous! Welcome to Obamanation.

        • Caroline

          Steven Jonathan, this was Canada, not the US. The Blue Jays rules were enforced, not Obama’s. The reality is that a majority of people are now supporting the rights and sensitivities of LGBTs. This has nothing to do with Obama’s views, although he has “evolved” to accept what nearly everyone else is coming to believe. You must be one of those who blame Obama every time you get caught in traffic.

    • patricia m.

      Yes, it means that. But I hear my Hispanic friends calling each other “maricon”, “cabron”, all the time. Of course it all depends on the tone of the voice, and if the person you’re calling “maricon” is your friend or not.

      • Caroline

        I hear middle schoolers call one another “gay” or “retard” all the time. Sometimes it’s supposed to be “funny”, sometimes it’s hostile. The Blue Jays, as a corporation, have a right to expect more of the people who represent them on the field.

    • Bono95

      In former times, a “faggot” was a type of firewood burned in certain parts of Europe. I believe it was also an Irish term for a type of cigarette (is this 2nd definition doubly damning because it “equates” homosexuality with smoking?)

      • patricia m.

        Fag is British for cigarette… 🙂

        • Bono95

          OK. Wasn’t sure.

  • poetcomic1 .

    What chills me to the bone is this ‘sensitivity training’ as legal prescription. The ‘sensitivity trainer’, in case you don’t know how this works, reports back to the judge if she feels (it is usually a she) the ‘penitent’ isn’t properly brainwashed and groveling.

    • patricia m.

      Sensitivity training -> reeducation camps. You see the parallel?

      • poetcomic1 .

        Reeducation Camps are more above board about what they do.

    • msmischief

      The irony is that they may decrease the sensitivity that they say they are after.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Nothing has turned me against homosexuality- not even Church Teaching- as much as the outright BULLYING by modern society on behalf of homosexuality.

  • Charles Lewis,Toronto

    By the tone of some of these comments it seems all gay are responsible for every stupid overreaction. Just because a few self-appointed leaders get angry does not mean they speak for all gays. The few gay people I know in Toronto are good citizens, who hold down tough jobs and are good to their friends. Once you start attacking gays as a group you’re no better than anyone racist. Most of the foolishness that emerges from these incidents is from the straight world itself. Those who see themselves as the defenders of the little people. At least in Toronto, the gay community doesn’t need protections and they are by and large good neighbours and good people.

    For the record. I’m straight. Happily married. Roman Catholic. I don’t approve of gay marriage but firmly believe gay men and and gay women have the right to form civil relationships and be the recipients of each other’s work and government benefits. When marriage gets redefined it opens a door that there’s no going back from. Yet I still have no idea how many gay couples bother to get married. I believe what the Catechism teaches: we are all sinners and we are called to love one another — without exception.

    Charles Lewis, Toronto

    • Bruce

      As long as you “firmly believe adulterers, cohabitators, polygamists, polyandrists, and the consentually-incestuous have the right to form civil relationships and be the recipients of each other’s work and government benefits” as well.
      I mean, if you’re going to be consistent, that is.

      • Charles Lewis

        It’s interesting, Bruce, that you’re the arbiter of consistency. I opposed gay marriage because I don’t want the door open to polygamy. Are you suggesting only married couples be allowed to exchange benefits. I’m sorry but you sound like you’re pushing for a theocracy. I don’t want any part of that.

        • Tony

          Mr. Lewis — a “theocracy,” really? Is that what we had when I was a little boy? It was all theocratic until the sexual revolution? Was FDR a theocrat? Even he believed that only married couples should exchange benefits. What you’ve done is to buy the notion that anybody who believes that the law has an interest in protecting marriage and the family and what used to be called “public morals” is a theocrat, despite the fact that such was the status quo within living memory.

        • poetcomic1 .

          Yeah, this 24/7 Porn Palace Freak Show that is what used to be called Western Civilization is in REAL danger of becoming a… theocracy!

        • kremmiz

          Charles, if you are a Catholic, then you are a theocrat. Your King is Jesus Christ. If you are a faithful Catholic like you claim, then you also do not support civil unions for homosexuals. Otherwise you run the risk of damning your soul.

      • Charles Lewis
        • Bruce

          There were two mistakes here, Charles. Its okay, given you’re a rookie. The Tablet is a pathetic excuse for a catholic publication. Second, you quoted one of the bafooniest of the princes of the Church, long derided for his erroneous opinions. He has also been corrected on more than one occasion.
          You’re going to have to try a lot harder than that. Also, you still haven’t explained your inconsistency.
          At the heart of it is this: It is not about religion. The government was only ever interested in marriage because men and women tend to produce children, and it is the right of children (and in their best interest) to be raised in a house occupied by their biological mother and father locked in a low-conflict marriage. It never had anything to do with anything else.
          Theocracy? Great. But that is not what is at stake here. Nice try, but you struck out, Casey.

    • Tony

      Mr. Lewis — Some of us here also live in Canada (I do, part of the year), and know about Bishop Fred Henry, Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn, and others who have been punished by your media and your “Human” “Rights” Commission for expressing opposition to the homosexual agenda.
      The difference between attacking people according to their race, and attacking the ACTIONS of homosexuals, ought to be evident to anybody who stops to think about it for a moment. Race is inconsequential; the other is consequential, and is behavior, not skin color.
      Your advocacy for publicly recognized homosexual relationships, but not homosexual marriage, is, I’m afraid, a distinction without a difference, and it nails us shut in the coffin with the sexual revolution. Sure, we are all sinners. What does that have to do with the wisdom of the laws in Canada or in the US? Try to tell young men and women that they must recover the sexual morality that prevailed, in the ideal and yes, for the most part also in deeds, before the sexual revolution. Try to tell them that, while smiling at the unnatural. If you grant legal approval of sodomy, you have given away the entire ballgame. If sodomy is to be celebrated, nobody can offer any reasonable way to condemn fornication, divorce, contraception, and the use of pornography.

      • Charles Lewis

        I know the gentlemen you speak of and know those cases. I cover religion for the National Post but I’ve been ill for the past year. I’m not advocating anything. In a civil society a man and woman who live together, in other words not married, can claim each other’s benefits. I’m afraid your concerns about sexual acts leaves me confused. Sodomy used to be outlawed between straight couples in certain US states. Can you imagine enforcing such a law. I’ve never been sure what the expression “a distinction without a difference” but there are many people opposed to gay marriage and are not against civil unions. It’s not the state’s job to keep people apart who harm no one else. For God’s sake, do we really need the state in our bedroom. And by the way, as a Catholic I abide by the Church’s teaching on fornication outside of marriage, divorce, contraception and the use of pornography. But are you saying the state should crack down on heterosexual sex outside of marriage. I don’t want to live in the kind of state you envision. I think cities could pass bylaws on the display of porn in corner stores and other public places. But that is an area where we can shame porn users with the simple question: “would you want your daughter or son in a porn movie?” If the answer is no, “then why is it good enough for other people’s children.” Porn is physical exploitation. Consensual sex may be immoral from our Catholic view but it is not exploitation. Please don’t tell me you thing all sex outside of marriage is rape.

        • Tony

          Mr. Lewis — you are comfortable with the “State” in every other room imaginable — the classroom, the operating room, the living room. Please try to refrain from thinking in clichés. The State doesn’t need to “crack down” on heterosexual sex outside of marriage — but it sure as hell can refrain from recognizing its validity and rewarding it with benefits. It sure as hell can refrain from encouraging it, which it does constantly. It is not true that only things that are exploitative cause harm to the common good. Have you not thought about what is happening to your nation, now that more than half of all children in Quebec are born out of wedlock, and with the rates rising high in the other provinces as well? You and we will cease to have a culture at all. We will have two things — a vast, ambitious, and all-meddlesome state (you must try hard to recover an awareness that there used to be plenty of zones of authority that did not rise to the level of the national state), and the individual, free to indulge in sexual libertinism. That is not a culture.
          Do we have to have abortion on demand, or legal abortion at all? No, we don’t have to have that. Neither country used to have that. Do we have to have the Pill, a class one carcinogen? No, we don’t have to have that. Neither country used to have that. Do we have to have lax divorce laws? No, we don’t have to have them. Do we have to pretend that cohabitation and marriage are the same? No, we don’t.
          Fornication, adultery, divorce, and the rest of it are not merely personal vices. They are sins against the family and the community which they assist in undermining or destroying. People used to understand this. Fornication is not immoral “from our Catholic view.” It is immoral by nature, because it violates the meaning of the marital act. Everybody, not just Catholics, used to see this, and not so long ago, either.

          • slainte

            Your anger is righteous in my opinion, but misplaced.
            The State will do what is common to “its” nature….accumulate power exponentially by appealing to and nurturing its citizens’ more prurient interests, and labeling it Liberty. The State that advances and nurtures hedonism is very attractive to anti-authoritarian folk who respond to its dubius largesse by promoting its growth and influence while demonizng its detractors as fascists.
            If the Churches (collectively protestant and Catholic) were active in their ministries and speaking Truth to the laity from the pulpits, they would be a powerful counterpoint to the State and its progeny, the dysfunctional culture.
            It is precisely because the churches are dis-engaged, and some complicit, with the culture that the State continues to grow and the culture continues to crumble. The refusal to engage the State by the churches is in large part rooted in the myriad of “financial partnerships” with the State. It’s hard to call out your partner if your partner has control of the purse strings and can respond by curtailing funding to your favorite social justice enterprise. Consequently, the churches must continue to approach the State on bended knee to maintain the funding flow to do “God’s” work. The price paid is the loss of yet another generation of christians,
            The churches, to be freed at last, must end the financial partnerships with the State, reform their ministries to function without State funding, and begin the long battle to save souls (and the culture) by speaking Truth to power.

    • EJCM

      If it is only a few “self-appointed leaders” of the gay community who are getting angry then why on earth do your gay “good citizens” not speak up? I expect it is because they are afraid of being attacked and ostracized by their own community. In France some have had the courage to come against same-sex marriage. In Canada it is now at the point that those who hold view contrary to putting same-sex relationships on a pedestal that need protection and not the gays.

      • Charles Lewis

        Maybe the reason my ordinary gay friend don’t speak up is because they’re to busy leading lives. How many citizens in general speak up on issues in general? Not many. You’re right that many gay men and women in France spoke out against gay marriage and that was courageous. But France also has a culture of protest. In Canada, at least, we don’t. Last year in my home province of Ontario the government pushed through a bill that allows for gay straight alliances in Catholic schools. It was pure bullying of the Catholic Church. As a reporter I could only find one Catholic parent and activist to speak out on this issue. Catholic hid from it. Does that mean they supported what we called Bill 13 the move. Likely not. But it was very puzzling the silence on this. Everyone complained about the gay activists but hid their head in the sand from speaking out. But you’re right, Bravo France’s gay citizens (who by the way are allowed to share civic benefits.”

        • EJCM

          It’s not that there too busy it is because of the intimidation at the hands of the gay “radicals” and the state, Human “Rights” Tribunals anyone? If one takes there head out of the sand in Canada on this issue it will be figuratively guillotined by the HRT’s. I have had both a gay roommate and neighbour in the past and they were good people in many ways. Sure they committed their sins but so do I. I wish they would speak up but we all live in fear.

          • Charles Lewis

            Fair point. And you’re right about the tribunals. They have to go. We already has criminal courts and civil courts. But these have turned into political courts with a strong left-wing bias.

    • Jim

      Mr. Lewis, here, must consent to promulgated provincial policy. You see, it is illegal in Canada to speak against the grain.

      And, Quebec has the normativity law, making it punishable for even being suspected of thinking against the grain.

      • Charles Lewis

        It’s not illegal. But it takes guts. I too to do not like the Human Rights’ commissions. The deck seem loaded. Try to be serious, though. At the National Post all of us have written pieces unpopular in the left leaning mainstream. No one has come in the middle of the night to cart us away. All over the world brave Christians speak out for justice. They risk their very lives. The least we can do is speak what we believe to be the truth without fears. Tyranny really begins when citizens fail to exercise their God-given rights. It feels good to get angry.

    • Objectivetruth

      I agree, we are called to love one another–without exception. But it is not love for another by justifying that persons sins, especially when they are sins against the natural law and the Church’s teachings on sodomy and the gay lifestyle. You should take note and believe everything the Catechism teaches:

      2357 “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

      • Caroline

        But use of contraception is also considered “intrinsically disordered”, yet I don’t see anyone calling for an end to marital rights for those who use contraception. Look around at Mass and see how many families have more than two children! Most Catholics use contraception. If you are being fair, you should be as outraged by that as by the demands for same-sex marriage.

        • Bruce

          Most people sin, therefore we should throw out the concept altogether.
          LOL. You’re silly.

        • Objectivetruth

          Incorrect. Contraception is considered intrinsically “evil” and not intrinsically “disordered” by the Catechism. There is a difference.

          And I am as outraged by Catholics condoning and using contraception as I am by sodomy/same sex marriage. Both are grave sins and evil unto themselves.

  • Alecto

    I thought we had banned slavery as a society? Forcing anyone to donate salary to anything with which he disagrees is tantamount to forced labor. It’s completely antithetical to any free society and repugnant to the very concept of dissent.

  • Bono95

    ” “Tu Er Maricon” = Homophobic Slur”
    Sheesh, is there any nickname, mildly insulting or otherwise, left that ISN’T “homophobic”?! And come to think of it, why is the LGBT lobby so eager to jump on these perceived “slights”? If they consider all epithets of wimpiness “homophobic”, they’re only encouraging the nicknames’ use in a truly insulting manner and creating resentment.

    • Objectivetruth

      Remember when the word “gay” meant “happy” and “joyful?”

      • Bono95

        Yeah, that was way back when the rainbow was the sign of God’s promise never to destroy the earth by flood again. Actually, perhaps now that sign is clearer. :-/

  • Magdalene

    And the ‘mob mentality’ is more and more anti-Christian and anti-Catholic in particular. Read the build up to the genocide in Rwanda–the media fomented the hatred and it burst into flames. There is a hatred building now. The homosexual agenda also foments it calling sodomy, ‘love’ and anyone who breathes against it is liable to swift, violent, and excessive abuse.

  • Mack

    So sad — Canada was the last stable country on this continent.

    • Charles Lewis

      Sorry, Mack. Canada has been way out on the left side for years. We have no law on abortion and no restrictions of any kind. We legalized gay marriage years ago and the court is forcing justices of the peace to marry gay couples or quit their jobs. This has been coming for a long time. Though the skiing is good.

  • jcsmitty

    Last night I saw a musical based on the movie “Sister Act” at the Hobby Center in Houston. What was an endearing, humorous story about a showgirl hiding out from hitmen in a convent was turned into an irreverent mockery of the Catholic Church. The reason I mention that in this thread is that it ties into the crowd mentality spoken of here: the audience laughed and clapped as the “heroine” changed the focus of the nuns to glitter and worldliness. The worst part, however, was the irreverence at all things holy and sacred.

    That, my friends, is where we are heading. The church is being marginalized through mockery and ridicule. It’s happening everywhere we look, but the media and our entertainment are planting the seeds of anti-Catholicism daily.

    • keithp

      Did you have no idea what this play was about before you attended?
      If not, then why did you sit thru it if you found the irreverance unpalatable?
      Your outrage would have more merit and impact had you walked out or chosen not to attend in the first place. YOU are part of the problem. Don’t support media that undermines your faith.

      • jcsmitty

        If you bothered to read what I wrote, you would see that I went to the musical because it claimed to be based on an endearing movie that was respectful of the Church. The movie was made in 1992 and was so innocent and well-loved that our pastor included a number from it in our annual parish talent show!

        I guess I’m not as good a Catholic as you think you are because I did not walk 25 miles home on foot to show my “outrage.” Did I forget to mention that I was a passenger in someone else’s car and was unable to leave?

        • Keithp

          I did “bother” to read your comments and my response still

          If you “bothered” to read my response, in no way did I claim
          to be better than you. I’ll treat this
          with a “right back at ya”.

          But, I am weary of folks like you who complain about how our
          faith is treated but do nothing other than whine on blogs like this one.

          If you were so offended by their treatment did you walk out
          rather than remain present giving approval by your silence? You could have stayed in the lobby of the
          theater if the weather was un congenial until your “ride” was ready? Did you demand your money back from the
          theater? Did you complain to the theater

          Have you written letters to the theater owners? Will you
          boycott the theater if they don’t refrain from continuing with this offensive
          play? Did you post info in your local
          newspapers entertainment blog describing your experience and warning other
          Catholics away?

          • jcsmitty

            What was the last thing YOU did to defend the faith?

            If you didn’t say in so many words you’re a better Catholic, your tone and self-righteousness said it for you.

            I don’t need any instructions from you on how to defend my faith. And even though I don’t owe you an answer since you presume to know, I did write letters to everyone involved in the production. I even wrote to the reviewer at the Houston Chronicle who gave this garbage glowing reviews..I warned my Catholic friends on Facebook, etc., etc.

            You are not talking to a whiner, Mr. Keithp, I take my faith seriously and complain loudly when it is ridiculed in any way. I boycott advertisers who support gay marriage and abortion. Do you? I write letters to the editor frequently when the usual anti-Catholic, pro abortion slant is published. Do you? I teach apologetics at my parish. Do you? I stand outside abortion clinics and witness against the killing of the unborn. Do you?

            I’ve done all the above long before I posted to this comment section and before you came up with your “suggestions.”

            What do you do besides criticize others and name call?

            If you’re weary about people who complain, make sure you know what you’re talking about before you judge people. You don’t know me and you don’t know what I’ve done to fight this pro-abortion, pro gay, anti-Christian cutlure.

    • Reets46

      It’s ok to bash Catholicism and Catholics in Hollywood movie productions or to do the same during LGBT parades. It’s ok to prance topless into the presence of a Belgian Bishop and taunt him and throw “holy” water on him because he stands firm in the teachings of the CC. Just don’t wear eye black with a possible slur against gays or you will lose your job, pay huge fines and be forced to take sensitivity training. Huh??? It’s free speech when they do it and hate speech when we do it. Did those topless lesbians have to take sensitivity training? Did they have to pay heavy fines to the CC in reparation for their insensitivity?

  • MommaChaves

    Just a quick correction: Tu Eres (Er is not a word in Spanish). And “maricon” has always been explained to me as a slur – more serious than sissy. We are a bilingual family and I don’t allow my kids to use that word.

    • DirichletString

      I agree- in my experience, it has always been interpreted as the equivalent of f*ggot, if not a bit worse. And while either word can be used in a joking, non-offensive way between people who know each other, care should be taken to avoid situations where someone may interpret it as a slur. And regardless of whether Escobar’s punishment and crowd treatment was just, writing the word on his face during a game was easily misinterpreted, and it was irresponsible of him to do it.

    • Timber

      Yup, try going up to some dude in Mexico and saying “tu eres maricon.” You’ll find out real quick that those are fighting words.

    • Ed

      Tu eres maricon means “you are queer”. Why would a ballplayer put this on his face? It just seems unnecessarily provocative.

  • Chris

    There may be a bit of mud on everybody here. Escobar’s eyeblack stunt was more worthy of Billy Ripken than of the Westboro Baptist Church. However, fairly or not, Escobar has developed over the years a bit of a reputation for moodiness and unevenness.

    In any event, one can understand — in or out of context — the booing of a visiting player who didn’t live up to his promise when he played for your team, and the intensification of that booing when that player scores against your team even though he’s hitting worse now than when he played for you. Uncharitable of the crowd, probably; damnable, perhaps or perhaps not.

    • Timber

      I have no idea how the author is sure that this is some PC reaction. As you say, it’s not at all uncommon for crowds who boo former players (especially those who left as free agents) when they return and hurt their old team.

  • Elleblue Jones

    I am sick to death of the “Politically Correct Police” interpreting anything someone says as ‘homophobic.’ Really people ‘you are not the center of everyone’s universe, only your own.’ I have been raised as many others have to respect people as a whole person not for one aspect of who they are as a person. Try it you might just like it!

  • Caroline

    There are many inaccuracies in this article. Firstly, Escobar’s words were indeed a slur and not as harmless as indicated. The usual translation would be “You are a faggot.” Now this may have been due to stupidity rather than bigotry on Escobar’s part, but he violated expected behavioral standards expected of Blue Jays players on the field.
    Secondly, he was not “forced to donate” any money to gay rights groups as the article claims. The Blue Jays management made that choice. They could have kept the money. And finally, he was not traded before the end of the season because of this flap. A number of Blue Jays players were traded in order to acquire some real stars on the team. Escobar was not singled out for trade. A bunch of players were traded. This happens in every baseball team.
    Please try to keep journalism honest.

    • Reets46

      Good points all…

  • theCardinal

    I am of Cuban descent and I can tell you that maricon translates to something much stronger than “sissy.” At best it translates “fa___t”…at best. This is not to say that the manner in which Escobar was treated was right…but I know this…if you want to start a fight or if you want to tear into another person of latin descent, particularly another Cuban, this is the word you drop. Of course as a baseball fan I think the booing also had to do with a former player showing up the home fans while playing for a rival.

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