Toronto Blue Jays Ban 'Homeless Jays' Shirts, Apologize for Lapse in Sensitivity

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 20, 2020

A Toronto Blue Jays jersey during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Monday, May 27, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Toronto Blue Jays have apologized for insensitive shirts worn by their players referencing the team being forced to find a new stadium to play home games this season. 

Per TMZ Sports, the Blue Jays issued a statement apologizing for a "lapse in sensitivity" after multiple players sported a "Homeless Jays" T-shirt during interviews. 

"The Blue Jays take accountability for ensuring negative stereotypes are not perpetuated and for supporting marginalized groups in our community," the team said. "The club has addressed the issue of the T-shirts with our players and they will not be worn again."

Rowdy Tellez wore the shirt during a Zoom press conference recently, while Anthony Bass shared a picture of it on Twitter:

Anthony Bass @AnthonyBass52

We don’t mind. Here to work. #homelessjays https://t.co/E6DCb0k0l9

Rob Longley @longleysunsport

Rowdy Tellez sporting the homeless T-shirt for today’s Zoom call. #Bluejays. https://t.co/bBB210axoM

Backlash from the shirts stemmed in part from harmful stereotypes often associated with homeless people, as well as the growing number of citizens in Canada and the United States who were either being evicted from their homes or faced the threat of eviction because of economic issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Canadian government announced on July 18, five days before the start of the MLB season, that the Blue Jays weren't permitted to play home games at Rogers Centre because of safety concerns over traveling back and forth between Canada and the United States. 

The Blue Jays attempted to share home stadiums with either the Baltimore Orioles or Pittsburgh Pirates, but the local governments in both of those cities ruled against it as a safety precaution. 

The Jays officially announced on July 24 they would play home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, home stadium of their Triple-A affiliate.