Clearing the air. Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins spoke out on why the team cut Anthony Bass following the backlash he received from his anti-LGBTQ post.
“Like any decision, we’re focused on building the best team possible,” Atkins, 49, told the Toronto Sun on Friday, June 9. “There are a lot of variables. Like anything, there are times when things get momentum and become a distraction in our clubhouse, and that was a variable.”
Bass, 35, was “designated for assignment” just hours before he was set to catch a ceremonial first pitch against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, June 9. “Designated for assignment,” according to MLB’s website, occurs when a player is removed from his club’s 40-man roster.
The professional baseball player, 35, came under fire in May for uploading a since-deleted video via his Instagram Story that called for boycotts of brands like Bud Light and Target due to their inclusive campaigns ahead of Pride Month.
One day later, Bass — who has appeared in 22 games this season — addressed the controversy in front of reporters and apologized for how his post impacted the rest of his team.
“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. I am so truly sorry for that,” he said during a press conference, according to a clip shared via Twitter. “I just spoke with my teammates and shared with them my actions yesterday. I apologized [to] them, and as of right now I am using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward.”
In a statement to the Toronto Star, a spokesperson for the Blue Jays shared that “individual player sentiments are not representative of the club’s beliefs” while also reassuring people of the club’s commitment to diversity.
“The Blue Jays bring millions of fans together across Canada and are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all,” the team explained at the time.
According to the team manager John Schneider, Bass’ apology was the “first step” in learning how his actions are accountable to others.
“It’s not going to be a 15 or 30-second apology and say, ‘OK, I did my part,’” Schneider, 43, told reporters at the time. “There’s going to be continued work with the resources we do have to try to show that he’s understanding that he made a mistake.”
Nearly a week later, however, the Michigan native told reporters that the video “reflected [his] beliefs” even though he removed the video.
“I just felt like [the video] was too much of a distraction, right? But I stand by my personal beliefs and everyone’s entitled to their personal beliefs, right?” Bass admitted, according to The Athletic. “But also I mean no harm toward any groups of people. And I felt like taking that down the second time was the right thing to do and not being a distraction. As a team, our job is to win baseball games. And that’s my focus.”
The MLB player — who got his start on the San Diego Padres in 2008 — has also made headlines over the years in his personal life. He married Jessie James Decker’s sister, Sydney Rae Bass, in August 2016 and welcomed daughter Brooklyn in September 2017. After adopting a second daughter in 2020, the couple revealed in March 2023 that they were expecting a baby boy.
In April, Anthony made headlines when he came to his wife’s defense after an alleged incident on a United Airlines flight.
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“The flight attendant @united just made my 22-week pregnant wife traveling with a 5-year-old and 2-year-old get on her hands and knees to pick up the popcorn mess by my youngest daughter,” he tweeted at the time. “Are you kidding me?!?!”