The Chicago Cubs have found themselves at the center of controversy after a fan flashed an allegedly racist hand gesture that was caught on camera during a game broadcast.
A Cubs fan was seen making various hand signs behind NBC Sports Chicago analyst Doug Glanville during Tuesday night’s broadcast of the Cubs’ 5-2 home win over the Miami Marlins.
After making what appeared to be a peace sign, the fan formed a circle with his index finger and thumb. Many took his “OK” sign to be a racist, white nationalist hand gesture.
— Chad Rehan (@ChadRehan) May 8, 2019
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that that assertion is absurd. It’s impossible to tell whether the Cubs fan was trying to be racist, making a random gesture or playing the “circle game,” where if you can get your friends to look at the gesture directly, you can punch them in the shoulder.
Given today’s hyper-politically correct world, it didn’t take long for the Cubs to leap into action.
“We are currently investigating an incident that occurred during the Cubs’ May 7 broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago while reporter Doug Glanville was on the air,” Crane Kenny, the Cubs’ president of business operations, said in a statement Wednesday to WGN-TV and other media outlets. “An individual seated behind Mr. Glanville used what appears to be an offensive hand gesture that is associated with racism.
“Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley Field. We are reviewing this incident thoroughly because no one should be subjected to this type of offensive behavior.
“Any derogatory conduct should be reported immediately to our ballpark staff. Any individual behaving in this manner will not only be removed from the ballpark, but will be permanently banned from Wrigley Field.”
In a vacuum, the team’s decision leaves quite a bit to be desired. It seems like an unfair and cowardly capitulation to the perpetually aggrieved.
But after what ESPN’s Will Cain revealed about his conversation with the Cubs, the decision looks even worse.
“I spoke to the Cubs,” Cain tweeted Thursday. “There is very little, if any, other evidence that this guy was flashing a white power symbol. No background, no social media posts, nothing.
“They also haven’t spoken to him and told me that they have no interest in hearing his side.”
I spoke to the Cubs. There is very little, if any, other evidence that this guy was flashing a white power symbol. No background, no social media posts, nothing.
They also haven’t spoken to him and told me that they have no interest in hearing his side.
— Will Cain (@willcain) May 9, 2019
That is unreal. Not only is there no history of racism, but the Cubs didn’t even bother to hear the fan’s side of the story.
To reiterate, this wasn’t a monthlong or yearlong ban, this was a lifetime ban for the fan, whose worst crime might have been trying to play the circle game on national television.
From there, Cain went on a Twitter rant in which he raised some very good points about the Cubs’ punishment of their fan.
Finally, we’re headed down a very dark path where justice is assuming the worst of each other, suspending common sense, and showing no interest in getting it right.
— Will Cain (@willcain) May 9, 2019
Considering some of the utterly unhinged Twitter outrage over an alleged racist hand gesture, Cain is spot on with his concerns about going “down a very dark path.”
— Tia A. Ewing (@TIA_EWING) May 9, 2019
The Cubs, as a private organization, are certainly free to ban whomever they want over whatever they want. But if this is the type of “investigation” that will lead to such severe punishments, that should be a concern to all sports fans.
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