NBC Sports Chicago

Fan who flashed white supremacist hand gesture banned from Wrigley Field for life

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Yesterday the Cubs announced that they were investigating an incident in which a fan flashed a gesture behind NBC Sports Chicago reporter Doug Glanville that has been associated with the white supremacy movement. Last night they announced that they have identified the fan and have banned him from Wrigley field for life.

While the gesture is similar to the “circle game” and is explained away by many as merely an “OK” symbol, it was erroneously portrayed as a “white power” symbol by online forum 4chan as a prank. As can happen, however, the line between prank and reality was soon blurred, with some actual white supremacists adopting it in an ironic manner. Which leads one to ask: when a racist “pretends” to be racist because they think it’s funny to trick people into thinking that they’re racist . . . how is that not really, super racist? They seem to think it’s all just a joke, but they’re the only ones laughing, of course.

Either way, the Cubs reportedly considered all of that yesterday. They were aware of the “circle game” explanation and attempted to talk to the fan but the fan would not answer his phone, presumably because he was too busy laughing super hard at his “joke.” Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said on 670 The Score last night that, in the end they met and decided it was more likely the gesture was used in a “racist way,” to use Kenney’s term, and banned the fan.

The Cubs, who got the fan’s contact information via StubHub sent him a letter informing him of their decision. The fan could be prosecuted for criminal trespass if he tries to enter the ballpark. No word if white supremacists have come up with a prank in which criminal trespass is not really criminal trespass, but I’m sure someone will make some sort of argument to that effect.

Reached for comment, Doug Glanville offered his appreciation for the Cubs’ and NBC Sports Chicago’s handling of the incident. Team president Theo Epstein called the incident “truly disgusting,” and said “It gave me shivers to watch that, that that would take place at Wrigley Field.”

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.