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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.

Giants exclude Aubrey Huff from 2010 championship reunion

Aubrey Huff
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The Athletic’s Steve Berman and Dan Brown reports that the Giants have decided not to invite 1B/OF Aubrey Huff to their 2010 championship reunion, to be held at Oracle Park on August 16. In a statement to The Athletic, the Giants said:

Earlier this month, we reached out to Aubrey Huff to let him know that he will not be included in the upcoming 2010 World Series Championship reunion. Aubrey has made multiple comments on social media that are unacceptable and run counter to the values of our organization. While we appreciate the many contributions that Aubrey made to the 2010 championship season, we stand by our decision.

Huff, 43, was one of the Giants’ most productive players in 2010, batting .290/.385/.506 with 26 home runs and 86 RBI in 668 plate appearances during the regular season. During the postseason, he contributed 15 hits, including a pair of doubles and a home run, while knocking in eight runs as the Giants won the World Series.

In recent years, Huff has become a phenomenon in conservative circles for his outspoken nature on Twitter. Back in 2017, he criticized people who protested President Trump’s executive order on immigration by tweeting, “I mean seriously what the hell is going on? If you have time 2 march, protest and riot. Maybe it’s time for something called a job!” Huff received a lot of blowback for the comment and defended it by bragging to people about his “big house” and “hot wife.” He eventually walked back his comments.

Huff has repeatedly made controversial statements in more recent times, including those of a sexist, transphobic, and violent nature.

  • On the Giants’ Alyssa Nakken, the first female coach in the major leagues, Huff said, “This has #metoo & #BelieveAllWomen written all over it.” He added, “Couldn’t imagine taking baseball instruction from an ex female softball player. [Frown emoji] Have fun with that.”
  • Huff got into a spat with former major league pitcher Seth McClung last year, which included the use of sexist language.
  • Huff boasted about teaching his sons how to use guns “in the unlikely event [Bernie Sanders] beats [Donald Trump] in 2020.” He said, “Knowing how to effectively use a gun under socialism will be a must.”
  • Last month, Huff suggested in since-deleted tweets, “We should invade Iran and take their [b-word]. Persian girls are hot af without the headgear and you know they know how to act right Makes you think.” He then suggested flying to Iran to “kidnap about 10 each,” adding, “We can bring them back here as they fan us and feed us grapes, amongst other things…. [devil emoji].” After the tweet went viral, Huff claimed he was joking, then posted a poorly-drawn comic about it.
  • In replies to people on Twitter, Huff consistently employs language popularized by the alt-right to insult and threaten people. He has been temporarily suspended from Twitter several times due to his use of hateful and threatening language.

As we have mentioned here countless times, the political views of baseball players tend to skew to the right. If the Giants were simply eschewing Huff because of his political views, they would have a short list of invitees to their 2010 reunion. Huff, however, has repeatedly and consistently gone too far when discussing his viewpoints.

Huff is surely taking this in stride, right? Of course not. Per Berman and Brown, Huff said about his reaction to the news, “Quite frankly, shocked. Disappointed. If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be having a reunion. But if they want to stick with their politically correct, progressive [crap], that’s fine.”