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Blue Jays fan threatens statue over Jose Bautista contract impasse


An Ontario man received a visit from the police after posting a threat on social media toward a statue of former Toronto Blue Jays owner Ted Rogers over the contract impasse involving slugger Jose Bautista.

Nicholas Kharshoum, a 24-year-old who lives in Kitchener, Ont., received a verbal warning from police once authorities were alerted to a tweet he posted on Feb. 22.

“F—ing pay the man or I’m throwing the Ted Rogers statue in the harbour you pieces of s–t,” Kharshoum wrote in the tweet that linked to a video about Bautista.

Rogers, who also was the former president of Rogers Communications, passed away in 2008. A 12-foot statue stands in his honor outside Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays’ home stadium.

Kharshoum can scarcely believe his tweet elicited such a response, referring to how the police sought him out as “over the top.”

“I can see how it was taken legitimately, but I definitely don’t think it should have been,” he told CBC News. “… I know that I said something dumb, and it is not the only dumb thing I’ve said on the internet.”

Bautista and the Blue Jays have not been able to come to terms on a contract extension, with the slugger indicating he isn’t inclined to give the team a so-called “hometown discount” and is seeking a deal somewhere in the range of five years at $150 million and up to more than $200 million for a contract covering six or seven years.

Bautista has become a much-beloved figure to Blue Jays fans after his heroic home run during the playoffs last season that was highlighted by a bombastic bat flip afterward that became the stuff of legend in Toronto and elsewhere. His antics have since drawn the ire of many, including Hall of Fame pitcher Goose Gossage, who called him a “disgrace to the game.”