Blue Jays apologize for ‘Homeless Jays’ shirt: ‘Lapse in sensitivity’
The Toronto Blue Jays have issued a formal apology over a shirt that referenced the team is not playing games in their home ballpark this season. In the statement, the MLB team cited a “lapse in sensitivity.”
Blue Jays players have been wearing shirts emblazoned with the message “Homeless Jays,” a questionable nod to how the team had to find a place to play after Canada barred the team from playing games during the abbreviated MLB season at Rogers Centre amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The shirts featured a Blue Jay in disheveled clothing with a bindle fashioned with a baseball bat slung over its shoulder.
We don’t mind. Here to work. #homelessjays pic.twitter.com/E6DCb0k0l9— Anthony Bass (@AnthonyBass52) August 15, 2020
Rowdy Tellez sporting the homeless T-shirt for today’s Zoom call. #Bluejays. pic.twitter.com/bBB210axoM— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) August 14, 2020
In its statement, the Blue Jays organization acknowledged the shirts were a distasteful and disrespectful. The team also pledged to make amends by continuing the ball club’s work with Toronto charities dedicated to confronting homelessness and lack of affordable housing.
“The Blue Jays take accountability for ensuring negative stereotypes are not perpetuated and for supporting marginalized groups in our community,” the team said, per TMZ Sports. “The club has addressed the issue of the T-shirts with our players and they will not be worn again.
The team added, “The Blue Jays have a strong commitment to lifting up our most vulnerable through Jays Care Foundation, including a longstanding partnership with Toronto Community Housing.
“We recognize the severity of the homelessness crisis in Toronto and throughout Canada and apologize for a lapse in sensitivity towards this important matter.”
The Blue Jays also announced that players are banned from further wearing the shirts, during interviews and elsewhere.
After failing to secure a site for home games, including at home ballparks of other MLB teams, the Blue Jays decided to play at Sahlen Field, the home ballpark of the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y.