It seems like this is a common scenario in sports. The Player says or does something deplorable and the following occurs:
Team Response: “We do not condone of what was said. We are looking into it. Proper disciplinary actions will occur.”
Player’s Apology: “I did not mean what I said and I am truly sorry. It was the heat of the moment. I do not condone what I said and I hope to learn from this occasion.”
Here is the thing about this response. First, it has been issued so many times that one may not see sincerity in it. Second, “the heat of the moment” is never an excuse for anything, especially when you have a platform such as sports and are a role model to so many young people.
Kevin Pillar has been suspended for two games without pay for directing a homophobic slur at an opposing player. The fine will cost Pillar in the range of $6,500 which will be given to charity. I cannot comment on whether his apology was genuine or not. I do not personally know Kevin Pillar. I think that the way this situation was handled was better than usual. I think that teams and players have begun to learn how to address when these things happen. Still, two games is not enough.
A baseball season has 162 games. Players take a day off here and there. Sitting two games will not change the outcome of the season. I don’t know if any number of games will make a difference for players and the way that they act.
Instead of just suspensions the league should take punitive actions in other ways as well. Kevin Pillar is having an excellent season and he is frequently in the highlight reel. There is a possibility that Pillar could have a ticket to the All Star Game. Take that away. Instead of only donating money to charity, force Pillar to partake in 80 community service hours in the LGBTQ community (if the organizations want Pillar to partake in their community.)
The league needs to take a stance and show players that their words and actions have consequences. Take away things from the players that are privileges. Simply paying a fine and missing a few games just isn’t harsh enough anymore.
What are your thoughts on the punishment handed down to Pillar? Do you think there are other methods the league could use to punish its players? Let me know by leaving a comment.