ANAHEIM - A's right fielder Matt Joyce has been suspended two games without pay for directing an anti-gay slur at a fan Friday night. It will begin tonight.
Major League Baseball announced the suspension Saturday afternoon.
Joyce got involved in a heated argument with a fan during Friday night's loss to the Angels and used an anti-gay slur.
The exchange took place after Joyce's at-bat that ended the top of the eighth and was overheard by Associated Press photographer Mark J. Terrill. According to Terrill, Joyce also used profanity and challenged the fan to a fight. Terrill did not hear how the exchange started or what the fan said to Joyce.
Joyce has since responded in a series of tweets. The full statement reads:
"In regard to last night's incident, I first and foremost want to sincerely apologize to the fans, the Oakland A's, MLB and the most importantly the LGBTQ community for my comments and actions. A fan yelled vulgar and obscene words about me and my family and I let my frustrations and emotions get the better of me. I am beyond sorry for the inappropriate language that I used and understand and agree that those words should NEVER come out of someone's mouth no matter the situation. Anyone who knows me will tell you that incident it is not reflective of me as a person, how I treat others, how I live my life and that those hurtful words are not my views. I fully support and hope to help the LGBTQ community with their efforts in being treated fairly and intend to let my actions speak louder than anything more that can be said about this truly regrettable moment."
1/ In regard to last night's incident, I first and foremost want to sincerely apologize to the fans, the Oakland A's, MLB and the most— Matthew Joyce (@sweetswingin20) August 5, 2017
The A's responded to the incident Saturday morning in statement that read:
"The Oakland Athletics are very disappointed by the comments Matt Joyce made to a fan during the 8th inning of last night's game. This language is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our team. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and expect our entire organization to live up to higher standards. We appreciate that Matt is contrite about his conduct and know he will learn from this incident."
"It's just one of those things that fans kind of get into the game," Joyce told the AP after the game. "Obviously, we're pretty frustrated on our side and I had just hit a ball hard and had (Angels first baseman C.J.) Cron make a good play. I was walking back to the dugout and just had a fan yell some vulgar and obscene words. For me it just wasn't the right time to say some stuff like that. I fired back and obviously as soon as you fire back you regret saying anything, because it's just not worth it."