Gibbons hopes Pillar's use of slur 'doesn't define who he is'

by
Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is defending his outfielder after the club suspended Kevin Pillar two games for directing a homophobic slur at Atlanta Braves reliever Jason Motte on Wednesday.

"Kevin felt terrible. That's not him at all, it really isn't," Gibbons said Friday on MLB Network Radio. "I sure hope that doesn't define who he is."

After striking out in the seventh inning Wednesday, Pillar addressed the slur to Motte, believing the reliever had quick-pitched him. Motte, who was on his way to the dugout after retiring the side, turned back toward Pillar, leading the Blue Jays' and Braves' benches to clear.

Pillar later issued a statement in which he apologized to the LGBTQ community for using the derogatory term before the suspension, then apologized again at a press conference Thursday.

"Hopefully people will learn from this ... there's no place for this language on field, at home, in (the) clubhouse, with your friends," Pillar told reporters Thursday, adding, "I have the ability to be made an example of, and I'm willing to accept that."