Yuli Gurriel’s “slant-eye” gesture and racist epithet during the World Series requires immediate suspension. Gurriel, playing for the Houston Astros, directed his hateful racist gesture and epithet towards an opposing player, Yu Darvish, who was pitching for the L.A. Dodgers.
The Houston Astros hastily tried to do damage control by making Gurriel available to reporters after the game.
The Astros quickly shut Gurriel up when his remarks made it clear that he fully understood the derogatory nature of his actions and epithet.
Gurriel referred to the fact that he had played baseball in Japan and knew (his words” “THEY don’t like that” – referring to his use of a racist epithet for Asians. The press access was quickly ended.
So what should be done?
The answer is easy: suspend him. Now. Take away his ability to play in the World Series.
Because what he did cannot be undone.
For the millions of viewers and all the children who watched his hate speech the image of Gurriel’s leering “slant-eye” face is an image that will exist forever. Children around the world who look up to baseball players were shown by his actions that it is part of sports to engage in hateful racism towards an opponent. It isn’t. And it shouldn’t be.
Some will argue that a suspension during the World Series is too harsh, too hasty, or that a money fine will suffice. They are wrong. A money fine just sends the message that rich athletes get to do what they want. Haste is irrelevant – his actions and words were for all the world to see – no investigation necessary. And, most importantly, the fact that it happened during the World Series is irrelevant. There exists no “World Series exception” for racist hate speech.
Racist hate speech is wrong anytime and anywhere.
Major League Baseball, players, fans, parents, children should unite behind this self-evident truth.
It is a truth much bigger than baseball.
It is a truth much bigger than any championship game.
And it is certainly a truth much bigger than the value of any well-paid bigot to his team.