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Yunel Escobar of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Yunel Escobar of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Frank Gunn/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Sept. 20: Blue Ja(y)ded, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Blue Ja(y)ded

The Blue Jays organization has not really been held to account for the culture of ignorance that Yunel Escobar’s thoughtless act reflects (The Blue Jays’ Black Eye – Sept. 19).

Many of these boy-men are immature, and come from a wide spectrum of culturally diverse backgrounds. Major League clubs know, or ought to know, the wide variety of foibles that ball players have committed; they should have classes such as: Idiotic Things You Shouldn’t Do 101.

One lesson would surely be: “Folks have cameras that can zoom in on jokey facial notes.” Based on other pro sports, the same class should probably include “Three reasons why you shouldn’t text naughty pics of your boy bits.”

These classes should be mandatory and ongoing, and should include a “buddy” system where all players are responsible for each other. You know, like swimming, so no one drowns.

David Ferry, Toronto


Yunel Escobar was suspended for three games for displaying a homophobic message on his face during a game. Where else but in Major League sports could such a lenient punishment be handed out for such an irresponsible act by a public figure?

Mr. Escobar’s $90,000 fine stacks up against the $5-million he is being paid this season: The fine is less than 2 per cent of his yearly salary, about a week’s pay.

Such lenient punishments set an example for other athletes to say what they please with little fear of the consequences, and to ignore their responsibility to the public and to the fans they are paid to entertain.

Andrew Pagnotta, Mississauga


I’m certain there was ample opportunity for Yunel Escobar’s teammates to tell him to take off the eye black. Maybe some did. The franchise should drop Mr. Escobar and have the entire team do sensitivity training to understand what it is like to live in a country of tolerance and openness.

A varsity athlete, I came out this year. It is not easy to play a varsity/competitive sport while hiding your sexual preference in the name of team cohesiveness. Actions by individuals like Mr. Escobar make it tougher for guys like me to be open to my teammates, when stereotypes are perpetuated that suggest gay means weak or effeminate. The Jays organization needs to send a message that this will not be tolerated at the professional level, so that those who admire these athletes understand that such behaviour cannot trickle down to other levels of sport.

I will do what any loyal baseball fan would do with my last tickets of the season: Boo Mr. Escobar mercilessly every at bat until his contract expires or the front office wakes up and drops him.

Zach Pendley, Toronto


NHL: Ka-ching

In his later years, Rocket Richard drove the back roads of Quebec selling fishing line from the trunk of his car to make ends meet. Now, the average NHL salary is $2.4-million a season (It Could Happen Again – Sports, Sept. 19). Bet these guys aren’t peddling fishing line from the backs of their Cadillac Escalades.

Tom Feindel, Maitland Forks, N.S.


47 per cent

Does Mitt Romney’s 47 per cent who are dependent upon government include the bankers and billionaires who were bailed out following the 2008 financial crisis (The Gaffe, The Reaction – Sept. 19)? Just wondering.

Anna Dolan, Ottawa


The media should stop referring to Mitt Romney’s recent remarks as a “gaffe.” It wasn’t a gaffe so much as it was a revealing insight into the mind of an ultrawealthy man who keeps his money in offshore tax havens while chiding the poor and elderly for not paying their share. In other words: a hypocrite.

Jan Burton, Toronto


Taiwan makes three

Taiwan also claims the islands whose ownership is disputed by Japan and China (China Vents Its Anger At Japan – Sept. 19). Taipei believes that the disputed archipelago – known by the Japanese/Chinese respectively as the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands – is historically, geographically, practically and legally part of Taiwan.

Although Taiwan is the smallest claimant to the islands, it has offered a constructive proposal aimed at solving, not intensifying, the conflict. Taiwan’s initiative calls for all parties to refrain from antagonistic conduct, to shelve controversies and to establish a mechanism for co-operation on exploring and developing resources in the region. The issue is thus expanded from the sensitive question of sovereignty to one of development of the entire East China Sea, transcending the impasse resulting from nationalism and territorial claims, and refocusing attention onto economic development.

If the Asia-Pacific region is serious about being the engine of the world’s economic recovery, the East China Sea dispute needs to be shelved. Nobody, including China and Japan, wants a war. In this light, Taiwan’s peace initiative deserves support from all other Asia-Pacific nations, including Canada.

Jonathan Yang, Mississauga


They aren’t ‘extra’

Maybe it’s about time extracurricular activities at school are recognized as not “extra” to a well-rounded education. For many years, teachers’ unions have trotted out “withdrawal of voluntary services” (read extracurricular activities) when they need bargaining clout (The Students Speak Up – Sept. 19). As a former educator, my best guess is that probably less than half of teachers are involved in leading extracurricular activities. Other than in bargaining situations, there is little or no official recognition for these contributions.

Why not make this work part of some teachers’ contracts and pay them more, or give them less outside-the-classroom supervisions?

This is heresy to most in education, but check out how many hours a student-council staff sponsor, band leader, football coach or choir director gives of their unpaid time in support of extracurricular activities?

Robert James, Markdale, Ont.


Charming Chicago

Although I don’t agree with everything Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has done, the media’s behaviour is reprehensible. I strongly believe in a free press, but to focus, during his official trade-mission visit to Chicago, on his most recent “football controversy” is ridiculous (Ford Hits Chicago But Can’t Escape Controversy – Sept. 19).

I would like to see the press promote the mayor and Toronto in a more positive light in international circles. We should all be working together to show the world we are a world-class city.

Michael Gilman, Toronto


If you take eight city councillors and fly them to Chicago for a trade junket, does that mean the ones who aren’t paying their own way are on a gravy plane?

Jim Purdi, Toronto

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