TORONTO – Reliever Anthony Bass has been designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays.
It’s the latest development in a controversy that began last week when Bass shared a social media post that supported anti-LGBTQ boycotts.
Bass, who made a public apology last week for the post, had been scheduled to catch the ceremonial first pitch by LGBTQ advocate leZlie Lee Kam when the Jays hosted Minnesota on Friday night to kick off their Pride Weekend.
The decision to include Bass was met with criticism by some on social media.
Bass has a 0-0 record and 4.95 earned-run average over 22 appearances this season.
Toronto called up right-hander Mitch White in a corresponding roster move. Bass had shared a since-deleted video post urging others to spurn Target and Bud Light over the support they showed for the LGBTQ community.
The right-hander, who was booed by Blue Jays fans in his first appearance following his post and initial brief apology, said Thursday he was “in a better place moving forward'” after a recent meeting with Pride Toronto executive director Sherwin Modeste at Rogers Centre.
He said in a scrum that he initially did not think the video post — which described the selling of Pride-themed merchandise as “evil” and “demonic” — was hateful.
“That’s why I posted it originally,” he said. “When I look back at it, I can see how people can view it that way and that’s why I was apologetic.”
Speaking to Global News on Friday, Modeste said he respects the decision that the Jays have made.
“I know that was probably not an easy decision,” Modeste said. “But I think the community, the 2SLGBTQ community spoke loud and clear that they did not want this person to continue to represent Toronto in the form of the Toronto Blue Jays and I respect that.”
Modeste said during a meeting with Bass, he tried to “explain the impact” that his statement could have on youth, children, seniors and families.
Modeste said the intent behind the meeting was not to “convert him or to change him.”
After the meeting, Modeste said he felt “hope” that Bass would not “repeat some of the behaviours that we saw.”
“However, I think after the statement yesterday, I think that was when I realized that it may not have hit the way that I thought it did,” Modeste continued.
-with files from Global News