Chicago Cubs Lay Out Plan of Action to Help Combat Racism, Bigotry, and Islamophobia

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Chicago Cubs Lay Out Plan of Action to Help Combat Racism, Bigotry, and Islamophobia

Chicago Cubs

In the wake of the release of ugly, disgusting emails sent to and by Joe Ricketts, the patriarch of the Ricketts Family, his son Tom – Chairman of the Chicago Cubs – publicly condemned the contents of the emails and met with Muslim leaders to begin a conversation. The fruits of that conversation will include some concrete steps by the organization to help improve relations with the Muslim community, learn about the importance of (all kinds of) diversity, and eliminate racism, bigotry, and Islamophobia.

To that end, this morning, the Cubs and CAIR-Chicago released a joint statement about this process and what is coming next:

Today the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) released the following joint statement with the Chicago Cubs announcing genuine, meaningful and visible steps toward combating Islamophobia, bigotry and racism.

This follows a productive meeting held recently at the CAIR-Chicago office between the leaders of several Muslim groups (CAIR-Chicago, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago – CIOGC and the IL Muslim Civic Coalition) and Chicago Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts. The Cubs offered to meet with the groups after published offensive emails from Joe Ricketts spurred these groups to publicly condemn the language and content.

The meeting began with a discussion on the history of Muslims in America and in Chicago. Following the discussion, several Muslims in attendance shared stories about their personal history and experience as longtime Cubs fans and how the emails from Joe Ricketts raised doubt about the family and organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Tom Ricketts offered a heartfelt apology on behalf of the organization and expressed his desire to mend relationships in the Chicago Muslim community and lend his support in the fight against Islamophobia. Both parties agreed to convert the unfortunate circumstances that brought the groups together into a positive opportunity to work together against hate and bigotry.

The group concluded the meeting with a discussion on a proposed plan of action that included: the participation of notable Muslims in Cubs and Wrigley Field traditions, anti-hate PSAs featuring Cubs personnel helping to raise public awareness against Islamophobia, as well as Cubs support for three community initiatives: anti-bullying efforts, diversity and inclusion training and scholarships. The details of these and other initiatives, as well as the implementation timeline, will be discussed in subsequent meetings in the coming weeks.

“We are encouraged the Cubs, led by Tom Ricketts, responded swiftly and genuinely in partnering with us to turn the situation around. As a result, the Cubs are taking a significant step forward and will use the power of their brand and voice to fight Islamophobia, racism and bigotry. We hope other franchises follow their lead. This active commitment to our shared values of Everybody In is not only great for the brand, but for all fans, for the affected communities and for our city as a whole,” stated CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to further our commitment to diversity and inclusion by joining the Chicago Muslim community in its efforts to eradicate bigotry and Islamophobia,” said Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts. “My family and I want to thank Ahmed Rehab and Chicago Muslim leaders for the opportunity to meet and have a frank and constructive dialogue about building a better future.”

As more plans are finalized and deployed, we at BN will keep folks informed of what is happening, and how they can participate if interested.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.