TORONTO (AP) – Blue Jays right-hand man Alek Manoah has been honored with a sportsmanship award for teammate Alejandro Kirk after the catcher was criticized online for his weight.
Manoah received a sponsorship award of approximately $73,000 (C$100,000) and immediately donated it to KidSport, a Canadian nonprofit that gives children the opportunity to participate in sports that have organization.
Earlier this month, Manoah reacted angrily when Montreal radio host Matthew Ross tweeted that Kirk was “shaming the sport” because of his weight and physique. Kirk, the All-Star for the first time this season, is 5 feet 8 and 245 pounds, according to his bio on MLB.com.
Ross responded to the highlight video of Kirk scoring from first base in a September 13 game against Tampa Bay. Toronto won 7-2, splitting points one-on-one against the Rays.
Manoah, who threw Kirk all but one of his starting games this season, fired back at Ross, urging him to “step aside from the keyboard.”
“Go ahead and tell the 8-year-old who weighs over 10 lbs that he should quit now,” he wrote. “Let KIRK inspire those kids to keep chasing their dreams and pursuing greatness.”
Ross later deleted the tweet and closed his account before issuing a public apology for his remarks.
In recognition of Manoah’s actions, Dove Men + Care announced a sponsorship that honors athletes for their sportsmanship and named Manoah as the first recipient of the award.
In Monday’s press release, Dove Men + Care praised Manoah for “promoting positive reassurance to the body” and demonstrating “remarkable sportsmanship on the global stage”. The company also announced that Manoah intends to give the award to KidSport.
Manoah, who made his debut last season, is 15-7 for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL wild card race. His 2.31 ERA is the fourth lowest in the major leagues. Manoah has a salary of 706,200 USD this season.
Now in his third big season, Kirk is winning .293 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs in 132 games.
Manoah and Kirk were both selected to the AL All-Star team for the first time this season.
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