On May 29, Toronto pitcher Anthony Bass shared a post on Instagram calling for anti-LGBTQ boycotts of Target and Bud Light over their support for the LGBTQ community.

On May 30, before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Bass apologized for sharing the post, as both companies have been under fire and heavy protest for those campaigns. Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said he accepted the apology the pitcher offered to him and manager John Schneider last month, acknowledging that he was “personally hurt” by Bass’ post but followed up and said this when he first spoke about the incident on Thursday before their game against the Houston Astros.

“I felt his apology and his accountability to be authentic or we would be talking about a different outcome, quite frankly. That was absolutely necessary for us to be together with how strongly we feel about the progress that has been made by the Toronto Blue Jays in this community.”

Now eleven days later, despite saying this, the Toronto pitcher, after a few home games filled with boos, was cut from the team as a DFA on Friday. Bass said this about the boos towards him at home:


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“I totally get that,” Bass said. “I just want them to know that I’m working hard on myself, a lot of self-reflection.”

However, this termination of Bass came mere hours before being scheduled to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Toronto LGBTQ activist leZlie Lee Kam before Friday’s game against Minnesota Twins.

This was supposed to be a moment for the 35-year-old, however, the Blue Jays will begin their fourth annual Pride Weekend celebration without him on the roster.

This is coming off the heels of Bass stating he is “working hard” to educate himself, including meeting with the executive director of group Pride Toronto, but it appears his time with the team has come to an abrupt end.

The right-hand reliever did say something else, as he followed up on his apology by saying he didn’t believe the post, which described the sale of LGBTQ merchandise as “evil” and “demonic,” should be considered hateful.

“I do not,” Bass said. “That’s why I posted it originally. When I look back at it, I can see how people would view it that way and that’s why I was apologetic.”

Bass said he chose to delete the post because “it was the right thing to do,” and because he didn’t want it to be a distraction to the team.

“My focus from the get-go should have been doing my job and being accepting of everyone’s decisions and views in life,” Bass said. “Through this process, I’ve learned that. Moving forward, I will definitely know better than to post my personal beliefs on my social media platforms.”

Atkins added prior to his release, “It needs to continue. I don’t think you can ever do enough. We’ll stay true to that commitment to make this environment as inclusive as we possibly can.”

“But I stand by my personal beliefs,” Bass said, “and everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right? Also, I mean no harm towards any groups of people.”

Statistically, Bass was struggling to pitch this season, pitching to a 4.95 ERA after a poor start, and was relegated to low-leverage innings after entering the season pitching ahead of Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano on the back end as a core reliever. Now, he has been released from Toronto’s official 40-man roster and was replaced by Mitch White for their Friday night game.

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