Matt Joyce Suspended 2 Games for Directing Gay Slur at Fan During Game

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2017

TORONTO, ON - JULY 27: Matt Joyce #23 of the Oakland Athletics reacts after grounding out in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 27, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Oakland Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce has been suspended for two games without pay after using an anti-gay slur during an exchange with a fan during Friday's game against the Los Angeles Angels

Major League Baseball's communications department announced Joyce's suspension would begin on Saturday. 

Associated Press photographer Mark J. Terrill said he overheard Joyce utter "several profanities" toward the fan and use "an anti-gay slur and [challenging] him to fight" while returning to the dugout in the eighth inning, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). 

The A's issued a statement on Twitter about Joyce's comments after his suspension was announced: 

"The A's are disappointed by the comments Matt Joyce made to a fan last night. This language is unacceptable & will not be tolerated. 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."

Joyce apologized for his comments in a series of tweets posted on Saturday:

"In regard to last night's incident, I first and foremost want to sincerely apologize to the fans, the Oakland A's, MLB and 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."

Joyce played all nine innings in the Athletics' 8-6 loss against the Angels on Friday. He is in his first season with Oakland after signing a two-year deal with the club during the offseason. 

The 33-year-old is hitting just .227/.336/.421 in 98 games this season. His 14 home runs are his most in a season since 2013 and rank fourth on the A's.

Joyce will be eligible to return from his suspension on Tuesday when the A's host the Seattle Mariners