An American baseball player has been suspended after he played in a game on the weekend with an anti-gay slur written on his face.

Yunel Escobar, from the Toronto Blue Jays, appeared on the field with the words “Tu Ere Maricon” (“You are a faggot”) written on his eyeblack sticker.

On Tuesday, at a press conference, Escobar apologised for the slur, saying that it was intended as a joke and that he did not mean to offend.

It was also announced that he’d be suspended for three games and will donate his lost salary to LGBT rights groups GLAAD and You Can Play.

“I agree with the suspension. I don’t have any problem with that. I’m embarrassed,” said Escobar.

“I’m sorry for my actions of the other day. I don’t have anything against homosexuals. I have friends who are gay. It’s just something that’s been said amongst the Latinos. It’s not something that’s meant to be offensive.”

Major League Baseball (MLB) also issued a statement on the issue. “Mr. Escobar has admitted that his actions were a mistake, and I am hopeful he can use this unfortunate situation as an opportunity to educate himself and others that intolerance has no place in our game or society,” said Commissioner Bud Selig.

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) welcomed the development and said that the team and Escobar were willing to work with the organisation to educate fans and players on the issue.

“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,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.

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