Cubs' Theo Epstein: Fan Who Made Racist Gesture Banned from Wrigley Field

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IMay 8, 2019

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 08: Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, speaks to the media before the opening home game between the Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on April 08, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Theo Epstein has vehemently denounced the anonymous fan spotted making a racist hand gesture during the broadcast of Tuesday night's Chicago Cubs game against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. 

"The incident last night is truly disgusting," the club's president of baseball operations began when speaking with reporters prior to Wednesday night's game, per NBC Chicago. "It gave me shivers to watch that, to see that take place at Wrigley Field. Appropriately, we've made clear how egregious about unacceptable that behavior is, and there's no place for that in society, in baseball and Wrigley Field. The person responsible for that gesture will never be welcomed back at Wrigley Field."

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney also made it clear the team won't tolerate that type of behavior: "Any individual behaving in this manner will not only be removed from the ballpark but will be permanently banned from Wrigley Field."

The unidentified fan's hand could be seen making a gesture associated with white supremacists on air behind NBC Sports Chicago reporter Doug Glanville, who is black.

Glanville released a statement earlier Wednesday, which in part credited the Cubs for their support: 

In September 2018, the Boston Globe's Michael Andor Brodeur detailed the evolution of "the circle game" into a much more sinister symbol of the white power movement: 

"The rise and fall and rise (and fall) of the OK gesture is not a particularly exciting story, but it is a complicated one. Starting in the damp, dateless caverns of 4chan, 'Operation O-KKK' was launched by an anonymous cadre of posters as a potentially powerful trolling methodology that involved simply taking the once-innocuous gesture and superimposing a (possibly?) disingenuous new meaning.

"... But time, the elasticity of language, and several witting and unwitting forces have together conspired to change 'OK' — if not a symbol of white supremacy then at least a vessel for it to be smuggled into the discourse, and pass in plain sight while retaining plausible deniability."

Specific to what happened on Tuesday night behind an unknowing Glanville, Kenney stated that the organization is investigating. "Any derogatory conduct should be reported immediately to our ballpark staff," he added (h/t WGN's Larry Hawley).

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