Suspended without pay for three games, Yunel Escobar -- paid $5 million a year, according to the Associated Press -- explained in a New York news conference that he meant no harm writing in his eye black on Saturday, "TU ERE MARICON," or "You are a faggot."
Escobar, who agreed to work with GLAAD as his non-monetary penalty, told reporters:
"I have friends who are gay. The person who decorates my house is gay. The person who cuts my hair is gay," he said. "Honestly, they haven't felt as offended by this. There's a different understanding in the Latin community with this word."
Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen -- suspended for five games by his team in April because of comments that he loves Fidel Castro -- agrees with Escobar, according to AP:
On Tuesday, Guillen said he didn't think Escobar meant to be offensive.
"I think he just did it for fun. I know he didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings. Nobody is that stupid," he said before the Marlins hosted Atlanta.
"In my house, we call (each other) that word every 20 seconds. I've got three kids," Guillen said. "For us, it's like 'What's up, bro? What's up, dude?' It's how you say it and to who you say it. But that's our country. We have to respect this country. Sometimes for us it's funny, for other people it's not."
Click here to read the complete AP news story.
Click here to watch Yunel Escobar's news conference on Deadspin.com