MLB

MLB pulls Chief Wahoo-Jackie Robinson caps

42 Comments

Over the weekend it was discovered that, among the “42”-themed merchandise Major League Baseball and its marketing partners were selling for Jackie Robinson Day, was an Indians cap featuring the “42” patch on the side and everyone’s favorite lame duck logo, Chief Wahoo, on the front, in his smiling glory.

Yep, no better way than to commemorate the end of de jure baseball segregation than by putting out merch with racist iconography on it. Fantastic work, folks!

This morning Maury Brown of Forbes reports that the league has pulled the cap from the site, saying that “it was mistake and had somehow slipped through the cracks,” [Brown’s words]. Whether you believe that was truly a mistake or whether it was removed due to the backlash that popped up over the weekend is between you and your belief in Major League Baseball’s efficiency and prowess when it comes to forward-thinking decision making and public relations prowess.

Whatever it was, however, there was one way this could have been avoided, unequivocally: getting rid of Wahoo immediately, rather than keeping the logo on the team’s on-field gear for one additional year.

When the league and the club made the decision to discontinue Wahoo’s use, they admitted that it was unacceptable, saying it was “no longer appropriate for on-field use,” and that it clashed with Major League Baseball’s commitment “to building a culture of diversity and inclusion.” That’s as close as corporate-speak comes to saying “yeah, that thing is as racist as hell” and, as such, it was an admirably courageous stance, at least by the low standards applied to such matters for multi-billion dollar corporate actors.

Of course, that they then nonetheless allowed it to persist another year was an implicit admission that, even if it’s racist, they’d sure like to sell a lot more Wahoo merch” before he’s gone. Given that cynical position, MLB is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt here. They are not allowed to say they made a “mistake” when they are the ones who knowingly and willingly created the conditions where it was likely to happen.

Maybe before this year, when the league and club offered vague and coy comments about Wahoo and could thus offer some moderately plausible deniability about what his appearance means in any given context, they could’ve said “oopsie.” As it is, however, they own whatever bad looks they create because they willingly allow the logo they themselves believe to be offensive to grace their official merch.

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
11 Comments

The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.