Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass was cut by the team on Friday after he received backlash from fans and boos for posting a video to Instagram in which he called Target and Bud Light "evil" and "demonic" for supporting L.G.B.T.Q. community.
The Blue Jays announced that Bass had been designated for assignment on Friday, effectively removing him from the Blue Jays. This was just hours before Bass was scheduled to catch the ceremonial first pitch for the Pride Weekend series against the Minnesota Twins.
Bass posted a video to Instagram last month that called for a boycott of both Target and Bud Light. Both companies have been the target of conservatives recently, Bud Light because it featured a transgender social media influencer, and Target because they promoted its Pride collection which included clothing and books for kids. Bass briefly posted the video from an Instagram page with a Bible theme to his Instagram story in late May.
Bass apologized to reporters for sharing the post after it caused backlash. He said that the post was "hurtful" to the Pride Community. Bass told reporters that he would work with the team in order to make better decisions going forward.
Bass said, 'The ballpark belongs to everyone'. Bass said, 'We welcome all ballpark fans and include them in our celebrations.
Some fans called the Los Angeles Dodgers out last month after they dropped the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, under pressure by Catholic critics, from their Pride Night pregame ceremonies. Later, the Dodgers reversed their decision following protests from several L.G.B.T.Q. The event was cancelled after several L.G.B.T.Q.
The Tampa Bay Rays were questioned last year after allowing multiple players to refuse to wear the Pride Night uniforms.
Bass, in a press conference with reporters on Thursday, defended his message.
Bass said to reporters, "I am adamant about my personal beliefs." Bass told reporters that everyone has the right to hold their own personal beliefs. I also mean no harm to any group of people.
Bass replied, "I don't" when asked if the post that he shared was a hateful one.
Bass, who spoke to reporters on Thursday, said: 'That is why I originally posted it.' When I think back, I see that people might view it in that light and that's the reason I apologized.
Toronto's General Manager, Ross Atkins told reporters Friday that his decision to terminate the relief pitcher is primarily based on the performance of the reliever this season.
Bass pitched in 22 games, averaging 4.95 earned runs per inning. In 2022 he had a 1.54 E.R.A. in 73 games, both career bests.
Atkins stated that there are many variables and performance is often the one driving factor. Performance was an important factor in this decision. We had to consider distraction, which was only a small portion of the decision.
Bass has been with different teams since his debut in the Major League Baseball in 2011. In 2016, Bass left the M.L.B. Before returning to the United States, he pitched professionally in Japan.