The Toronto Blue Jays suspended shortstop Yunel Escobar for three games on Tuesday for wearing eye-black displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish during last Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox. 

Pictures posted online show the Cuban with the message Tu ere maricon written in his eye-black, a sticker players wear under their eyes to reduce glare from the sun.

It did not appear to be directed at any person in particular. It is being translated in Canada as, "you are a faggot."

The incident has caused huge debate, although some commentators say that regional Spanish translation of the words could have an impact on Escobar's intended meaning.

"The suspension is the result of his decision to display an unacceptable message while participating in a major league game," the Blue Jays said in a statement.

"The Blue Jays want to reaffirm that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated."

The Blue Jays said Escobar would participate in an outreach initiative to help educate society about sensitivity and
tolerance to others based on their sexual orientation. 

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) issued a statement backing the decision.

"Today's actions show that MLB and the Toronto Blue Jays are committed to creating an environment that all fans and families can enjoy, not a place where discriminatory language and anti-gay attitudes are accepted," GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said.

The Blue Jays are in New York to play the Yankees later on Tuesday.

The punishment was announced during a news conference at Yankee Stadium.

Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Source: Agencies