As many were sleeping the night away, the party was only starting in Chicago. Sure, it was a Tuesday night, but Chicago Cubs superstar Kris Bryant just hit a monster walk-off home run to beat the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. A celebration was in order.
All seemed to be perfect, too. Despite chilly weather at the Friendly Confines, the win and belting "Go Cubs Go" is still fun, even if it is early May. However, something happened during the MLB game that has the organization's attention on social media.
NBC Sports Chicago reporter Doug Glanville, who played three seasons for the Chicago Cubs during his career, was providing analysis on-air in the third inning when a fan in the background flashed a hand gesture that is associated with racism.
The Cubs fan in the gray sweatshirt was seen holding an upside-down O.K. symbol right above Glanville's shoulder. That symbol and gesture, of course, has been linked to mean "white power" and white supremacy, and it definitely set plenty in motion.
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A racist gesture? Perhaps. Then again, maybe it was the "Circle Game" that features the same hand signal. It's hard for any of us to decide, but the Cubs are not taking this situation lightly and are threatening a lifetime ban for the bearded fan responsible in a statement issued Wednesday.
"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. An individual seated behind Mr. Glanville used to 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 the 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."
— Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney
Even if It was part of the "Circle Game" designed to make someone look at the hand gesture below your waist so you can punch them in the shoulder, the Chicago Cubs are not going to tolerate it.
"If it is believed to be the Circle Game, then this person made a bad judgement call by using a symbol associated with racism above an African American reporter's head while he's doing his job on live TV," Cubs spokesperson Julian Green said, via WGNTV. "This is something we are not going to drop."
It was supposed to be a fun night at Wrigley Field, and it was for many. But it's hard to think there is any way this fan is allowed back to the famous American ballpark ever again, joke or not.
UPDATE (May 9):
It was no secret the Chicago Cubs weren't playing around. This was serious and it was only a matter of time before the organization identified the fan and punished him. The entire process took less than a day.
Late Wednesday night, Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney released a statement and banned the fan indefinitely.
"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."
This had no chance of ending well and the punishment certainly proves the Cubs will not tolerate any of that behavior from any fan ever.
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