JACL Condemns Racist Gesture by Houston Astros Baseball Player During World Series Game

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2017

Press Release

Contact: Jeffrey Moy, Vice President for Public Affairs, jmoy@jacl.org
David Inoue, Executive Director, dinoue@jacl.org, 202-607-7273

Friday night, Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, hit a home run off of Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish. Mr. Gurriel followed his home run with a racist gesture directed at Mr. Darvish, who is of Japanese descent. JACL condemns in no uncertain terms the use of this gesture.

Mr. Gurriel has apologized, which is welcomed, however that does not change the fact this has been seen by millions of television viewers around the world. Ignorance cannot be used as an excuse as by its very nature racism is always based in ignorance. If the intent was not to offend, the gesture should never have been made.

Major League Baseball has established a precedent for punishments in similar situations. Earlier this season, a player shouting homophobic slurs from the bench was suspended one game and we feel a similar punishment is required here. Fans have been given lifelong bans from ballparks for their use of racist slurs towards players and other fans. Should players not be held to the same standards as its fans?

Some may say because this is the World Series, serious disciplinary action should not be administered. However, because this is the World Series and the world is watching MLB’s response to this racist gesture, a strong message must be given that this is unacceptable.

Commissioner Manfred must consider the millions of children watching the fall classic, and particularly those who are Asian American and even today are subject to displays of racism such as this from their classmates. The impact of seeing this done by a major league baseball player, whom many may see as a role model, can be devastating for a five year old tee-ball player.

We call upon Commissioner Manfred to continue Major League Baseball’s season long commitment to respond forcefully to racism and homophobia. Baseball is on its biggest stage and we are all watching.

The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.

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