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Kevin Pillar, aka Superman, needs to clearly show he regrets using a homophobic slur: Keenan

Whether he ever wanted to be one or not, Blue Jays centre fielder Kevin Pillar is a role model. I mean, they call him “Superman.” A nickname like that comes with big expectations. When you don that cape and then stand out there angry in front of the whole world and call the opposing pitcher a “faggot” after he strikes you out — as Pillar appeared to do Wednesday night — then you’re a super disappointment. What you ought to do then is whatever you can to make it right. But before we get into that, a bit of personal context: my 8-year-old daughter is a developing competitive baseball player. She loves the game, and is growing to love the Jays. The first time I took her to see a game in person, Kevin Pillar made “The Catch,” right before our eyes — climbing the accounting-firm ad in left field to reach over the wall and steal a home run. The second time we went together, it was Pillar bobblehead day, and they kept showing superhero animations of him on the jumbotron. We saw him on TV this past weekend, hitting a walk-off home run wearing Mother’s Day pink. Then we went in person on Tuesday and saw him get three hits, including a home run that made the game close for a while, against Atlanta.On the way out of that game, my daughter told me she’d decided Kevin Pillar was her favourite Blue Jay. For all those reasons. I told her I thought he might be mine, too, for the same reasons. I don’t think we’re alone in this city. Like I said, the guy is called “Superman” around here.Article Continued BelowWe look up to him. On the field, he’s done a lot to make us proud (even in this so far less proud Blue Jays season, he leads the league in hits). In shouting a hateful homophobic slur — on the very day set aside as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, no less — he’s let us down.(If indeed that’s what he said. He hasn’t denied it as I write this, and he tried to apologize, which seemed to acknowledge it, without specifically confirming what it was he said.)That particular slur remains lamentably common in macho subcultures of young men, like sports locker rooms. It suggests, forcefully, that there is something wrong with being gay — that gayness itself is an insult. For generations, it’s been used as a double-edged weapon, to assert that the person you are shouting it at is less than fully a man, and to assert it by associating him with homosexuality, therefore assuming that gay men are less than fully men.

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