Oakland Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce has apologized for directing a gay slur toward a fan, acknowledging that he had a "truly regrettable moment" and saying that "those words should NEVER come out of someone's mouth."
Joyce tweeted his apology in a seven-part thread Saturday, one day after an Associated Press photographer overheard the exchange between Joyce and the fan during Oakland's game against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Athletics announced earlier Saturday that they have been in touch with Major League Baseball and the commissioner's office, which has opened an investigation into the incident. Joyce said on Twitter that the fan "yelled vulgar and obscene words about me and my family."
"The Oakland Athletics are very disappointed by the comments Matt Joyce made to a fan during the 8th inning of last night's game," the A's said in a statement. "This language is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our team. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and expect our entire organization to live up to higher standards. We appreciate that Matt is contrite about his conduct and know he will learn from this incident."
The exchange occurred in the eighth inning of Los Angeles' 8-6 win after Angels first baseman C.J. Cron made a diving stop of Joyce's hard-hit grounder.
As Joyce returned to the dugout, he uttered several profanities at the fan, called him a gay slur and challenged him to fight, according to AP photographer Mark J. Terrill, who said he didn't hear the first part of the exchange.
In a similar incident in May, Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar was suspended two games for yelling an anti-gay slur at Atlanta Braves pitcher Jason Motte. In 2012, then-Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar, now with the Angels, was suspended three games for displaying an anti-gay slur on his eye-black.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.