The Cubs released a statement concluding their investigation into a incident from Tuesday night’s game, when a fan made an ‘OK’ hand symbol behind reporter Doug Glanville on the air.
This is from Cubs Business President Crane Kenney:
“We have investigated the incident that occurred at Wrigley Field on May 7, 2019, where an individual was observed on camera using an offensive hand gesture that is associated with racism. The long-standing Chicago Cubs Guest Code of Conduct is in place to ensure a safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for all fans and prohibits unacceptable behavior. After a review of last night’s broadcast footage, we concluded this individual’s actions violated the Guest Code of Conduct.
“As a result, after repeated attempts to reach this individual by phone, we sent a letter to the individual notifying him of our findings and our decision that, effectively immediately, he will not be permitted on the grounds of Wrigley Field or other ticketed areas indefinitely. We further communicated if he attempts to enter Wrigley Field or other ticketed areas he may be subject to prosecution for criminal trespass to property.
We are not disclosing the name of the individual to the general public and will not be making any further comment on the matter.”
What isn’t entirely clear from the statement is whether the Cubs took additional investigative steps beyond trying to contact the fan – with whom it sounds like they were unable to speak – and reviewing the video before making their decision. Like I said yesterday, while I don’t think the fan was simply playing the “circle game,” I would like to think there was more looking into it than just the video itself (for example, if they know who the fan is, a review of his social media might be enough to clear things up on his intent – and maybe that’s what they did, but aren’t saying because they don’t want people to descend upon him? Again, it’s not clear).
Statements by Theo Epstein yesterday have a very firm tone, so again, you’d like to think the Cubs know more than just the video, itself:
"Truly disgusting" is how Theo Epstein described the hand sign with racist overtones that was seen in the middle of last night’s Cubs broadcast. "It gave me shivers to watch that."
"The person responsible for that gesture will never be welcome back at Wrigley Field."
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) May 8, 2019
For those interested in a good explanation of the ‘OK’ sign, and why it has such an annoying and complicated aura right now, see this article from the Anti-Defamation League. You throw in the circle game aspect, too, and the whole thing is a mess. I expect that the Cubs did investigate, as they said, and if you’re going to err on the side of caution in this one – protecting minority fans from feeling like everyone is treating what *might* be a racist gesture as just a joke – then I’m fine with it after an investigation.