NBC Sports

Cubs investigating fan allegedly flashing ‘white power’ sign behind NBC Sports reporter

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Chicago Cubs Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said in a statement released early this morning that the club is investigating a fan using what appeared to be a hand gesture associated with the white power movement while NBC Sports Chicago reporter Doug Glanville did a TV segment in front of him.

The statement:

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 what appears to be an offensive hand gesture 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.

The incident can be seen from the fan in the gray sweatshirt here:

It’s worth noting that this gesture is . . . a somewhat complicated one. While the Cubs are properly investigating this, the full context of it and all that surrounds it is worth appreciating before reaching a conclusion on the matter.

As explained here by the Anti-Defamation league, that “OK”-style gesture was originally cast as a “white power” symbol as a trolling hoax by some associated with the alt-right movement. The idea: lots of people make “OK” symbols on camera and, if enough people believed it actually meant “white power,” people who are not engaging in racist behavior would be accused of doing so, thereby undermining legitimate claims of racism as liberal hysteria or people crying wolf.

Then a “funny” thing happened: actual white supremacists started adopting the gesture, allegedly ironically. Irony sort of fails, however, when the person acting “ironically” in this way is, in fact, a white supremacist. Mostly because we are what we do, even if we think we’re acting in such a way “ironically” or even if we’re trying to muddy the waters in some effort to lean-in to a some group identity or belief system. As such, if someone who is cognizant of all of this stuff flashes this symbol as a “joke,” it’s still an offensive act.

It is also worth noting that the symbol flashed here is also similar to the so-called “circle game” with which most people who attended middle school at one time or another are familiar. Kind of a “made you look” thing. Which, in addition to the common “OK” symbol, was something the trolls who created the originally phony “white power” narrative were trying to make people confuse for racism. Which means that the Cubs have layers upon layers of garbage to sift through, basically.

Which also means that, even if the context in which the symbol was used — behind a black reporter where it would obviously be seen by TV viewers — is certainly troubling and is worthy of investigation by the Cubs, we should exercise at least some caution before making a definitive determination about what this fan was doing and why.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

Tim Warner/Getty Images
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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.