Cleveland’s Yu Chang receives racist tweets after making error

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND — Indians first baseman Yu Chang shared some racist tweets he received after he made a costly error in the ninth inning of Monday night’s game in Chicago.

Chang, who is Taiwanese, posted some of the anti-Asian tweets on his Twitter account Tuesday while asking for tolerance. One of the messages referred to the shape of his eyes and another referred to the coronavirus.

“Exercise your freedom of speech in a right way, I accept all comments, positive or negative but DEFINITELY NOT RACIST ONES,” Chang wrote. “Thank you all and love you all.”

He included the hashtag StopAsianHate.

Chang’s tweet included a screenshot of three of the messages. Two of the accounts seem to have been deleted.

Soon after his posting, the 25-year-old Chang received an outpouring of positive responses and support from Indians fans and others across social media.

Indians manager Terry Francona texted with Chang earlier in the day, and then met with him along with the player’s interpreter before Tuesday’s game at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“First, I wanted to make sure he was OK and that he understands the lunacy or the idiocy that was said is not shared by hopefully very many people, certainly not in the Indians’ organization,” Francona said. “Truth be told, man, it’s really simple: errors are part of the game.

“But ignorance and racism, they shouldn’t be anywhere. Those comment that have nothing to do with baseball. It’s just an excuse for somebody to be stupid and ignorant. That’s really what it is.”

Francona said Chang was handling the situation well

“He’s an extremely mature young man and he’s fine,” Francona said.

With the Indians and White Sox tied 3-3 in the ninth inning and Chicago threatening with two runners on base, Chang fielded a groundball and attempted to get the forceout at second, but hit runner Yasmani Grandal in the helmet.

The ball ricocheted toward the left-field line, allowing pinch-runner Nick Madrigal to score the winning run.

Chang, who came up as a middle infielder in Cleveland’s organization, is playing first base for the first time this season. The Indians signed him as a free agent in 2013.

Chang was not in the lineup on Tuesday night, but Francona said it had nothing to do with the error.

“I can promise you we will never make a lineup out from somebody’s tweet the night before,” Francona said.

The racist social media postings directed toward Chang are part of an ugly trend of abusive behavior toward Asians, which included the fatal shootings of six women of Asian descent in Atlanta by a white gunman last month.

Former NBA player Jeremy Lin has been outspoken about the racist behavior and sports organizations have offered support to quell incidents.