The Toronto Blue Jays have cut pitcher Anthony Bass just over a week after he apologized for sharing a video on social media that encouraged Christians to boycott Bud Light and Target.
The decision was based mostly on performance, but “distraction” did play a role, according to Blue Jays manager Ross Atkins. Bass had previously apologized for sharing a video on Instagram that made a Biblical case against spending money to support businesses that are pushing people, particularly children, to “darkness.”
“There’s a myriad of variables,” Atkins said. “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.”
“We’re trying to build the best possible team we can build,” Atkins said. “This was a baseball decision to make our team better.”
Bass did not comment on the video he shared, but later released an apology where he said he was sorry for the “hurtful video.”
“I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine. And I am truly sorry for that,” he said in a video put out by the team.
“I just spoke with my teammates and shared with them my actions yesterday. I apologized with [sic] them, and as of right now I am using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward,” he added. “The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark. We want to welcome everybody. That’s all I have to say.”
On Thursday, Bass seemed to backtrack from the apology, telling reporters that he stood by his beliefs.
“I stand by my personal beliefs,” he said. “And everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right? Also, I mean no harm towards any groups of people.”
Bass, who had been designated to participate in the first pitch for a“Pride Weekend” game in Toronto, said he did not believe that the video he shared was hateful. In the aftermath of the apology, the 35-year-old pitcher has been booed by home fans.
Bud Light has faced plummeting sales in the aftermath of a partnership with transgender-identifying activist Dylan Mulvaney while Target has faced backlash over its LGBT-themed products for children and “tuck-friendly” female swimwear.