It's not difficult to understand where this decision is coming from.
Plan is for Anthony Bass to catch the first pitch at the #BlueJays game tomorrow on Pride Weekend
Another player likely to catch first pitch Saturday, details TBD
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) June 8, 2023
The Blue Jays are trying to rehabilitate Bass' image. He met with the executive director of Pride Toronto on Tuesday, and the team is presenting him as someone who made an authentic apology and has learned from his experience.
Unfortunately, that's simply not the case. The first apology Bass made lasted less than a minute and was preceded by the words, "I'll make this quick." Some of his words since have made it clear that all he learned is that sharing certain posts makes certain people upset.
When asked whether his thoughts on the material he shared had changed, he said the following:
"The video itself, I took it down. 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."
Asked if he thought the post — a video which called pro-2SLGBTQ+ initiatives by Target and Bud Light "evil" and "demonic" — was hateful, he stuck to his guns.
"I do not. 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."
It seems Bass has come to an understanding about how using his platform to share content that demonizes the 2SLGBTQ+ community might have a negative effect on others. That is a step in the right direction, but it's a small one.
By failing to acknowledge any issue with what he posted, Bass clearly demonstrated that his views have not evolved. He seems to believe the reason he's receiving blowback is because he chose to share something that aligned with his values when he should've simply kept his thoughts to himself.
The way he used his platform is problematic — to say the least — but the reason it generated outrage is because it revealed his disdain for fellow human beings whom he should be seeing as equals. The Blue Jays fans who are booing Bass these days are booing the person he has revealed himself to be far more than his decision to hit the share button on a video.
On Friday, when he comes out to catch the ceremonial first pitch on the first day of the team's Pride Weekend festivities, he will do so as someone who continues to harbour deep anti-2SLGBTQ+ sentiment. He has just become determined to be more judicious about sharing that publicly.
That's not the type of person who should be given a position of prominence in an event celebrating a marginalized community that is fighting for not only acceptance but also, in many cases, its literal rights.
What makes all of this so baffling is that it's a massive unforced error by the Blue Jays. When the team sent out its press release about Pride Weekend on Wednesday, there was no mention of Bass catching the first pitch. They could've sent literally any other player or coach out there. Every single one of them would've been a better choice than Bass.
This is a development nobody was asking for, and it looks like a crude attempt to change the narrative surrounding Bass. Pride Weekend isn't about Bass learning a lesson, though — and it's especially not about pretending that he has.
The event is supposed to be about a group of people who deserve better than having someone who clearly doesn't have the most basic level of respect for them shoved in their face.