The Toronto Blue Jays cut pitcher Anthony Bass on Friday, 11 days after he shared a video supporting boycotts against Target and Bud Light, and on the day he was set to catch the ceremonial first pitch from an LGBTQ+ activist to kick-start the team's annual Pride Weekend.
On May 29, Bass shared a video from the Instagram account of @dudewithgoodnews that explained a biblical reason Christians should boycott Target and Bud Light "and any other corporation that are pushing the things they're pushing." The person in the video cited Ephesians 5:11-12: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to talk of the things that they do in secret."
The next day, Bass apologized for sharing the video, saying, "I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine, close family members of mine; and I'm truly sorry for that." He added he was using team resources to better educate himself to make better decisions moving forward.
Bass, 35, a right-handed reliever who has a 0-0 record and 4.95 earned-run average in 22 games, was booed the first time he pitched on his home field, the Rogers Centre. On Thursday, before a game against Houston in Toronto, Bass answered questions from reporters for the first time since the scandal broke.
"The video itself, I took it down," Bass said. "I felt like it was too much of a distraction. I stand by my personal beliefs; and everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right? But I also mean no harm to any groups of people."
Before Friday night's home game against Minnesota, Bass was scheduled to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Toronto LGBTQ+ activist leZlie Lee Kam as the Blue Jays began their fourth annual Pride Weekend celebration. After Bass was cut, the team said pitcher Kevin Gausman would catch the ceremonial pitch.
Bass was technically designated for assignment, which means the Blue Jays have seven days to trade him or put him on waivers.
Before Friday's game, Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins said the decision to cut Bass was primarily motivated by performance.
"There's a myriad of variables," Atkins said, according to the CBC. "Performance is usually the driving one, and performance was a large aspect of this decision. Distraction was a small part of it and something we had to factor in."
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