Sunday, October 29, 2017

Yuli Gurriel's Offensive Gesture

Following-up, "Dodgers Get Even: #WorldSeries."

This is bad. This is really bad.

I gotta say, though. Yu Darvish was classy in response.

On the front-page today, at LAT, "Yuli Gurriel's offensive gesture unleashes World Series debate about racism and political correctness":

The world was watching when Yuli Gurriel made a racially charged gesture during Friday’s World Series game.

It came after a moment of triumph: The Houston Astros first baseman had just hit a home run off of Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish. He returned to the Astros’ dugout, where he put his fingers to the sides of his face and lifted the corners of his eyes — a “slanted eyes” gesture widely regarded as a racist mockery of Asians.

Gurriel also used the word “chinito,” or “Chinese boy,” in reference to Darvish, who is of Iranian and Japanese descent.

The episode, caught on video and repeated endlessly on television and social media, opened up a new heated conversation about race and identity in professional sports, which has already been grappling with NFL players taking knees during the national anthem.

Many found Gurriel’s antics as juvenile and insulting as they were sadly familiar.

“It just felt like, ‘Man, again?’ Like, we’re so used to this,” Jason Chu, a Chinese American rapper based in Los Angeles. “People don’t even pause. They think that this is acceptable, socially, to target Asian Americans in this way, or Asians in general.”

Chu said trash talk is a routine part of competition, but Gurriel’s behavior was offensive because it mocked Darvish for being Asian.

Well-known Asian Americans, including Los Angeles chef Roy Choi and actor Daniel Dae Kim, spoke out against Gurriel. Kim pointed out that the Gurriel incident was not the first time that slurs and stereotypes have been used against players in Major League Baseball.

“Maybe Gurriel will change that,” Kim said in a tweet to a Times reporter.

On Saturday, Gurriel apologized for his behavior, saying in a statement that he made “ an offensive gesture that was indefensible…. I deeply regret it. I would particularly like to apologize to Yu Darvish, a pitcher that I admire and respect.”

Major League Baseball acted swiftly: Gurriel will be suspended without pay for five games at the start of the 2018 season and will have to undergo sensitivity training. He won’t miss any games in the World Series.

Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the suspension Saturday after he met with Gurriel before the Astros were to play the Dodgers in Game 4 of the World Series. There is precedent for such a suspension: Matt Joyce of the Oakland Athletics and Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays each were suspended two games this season for using anti-gay slurs.

The controversy resonated in both Los Angeles and Houston, which are among the most racially diverse cities in the nation and have prided themselves as being melting pots that welcome immigration and celebrate tolerance. There was debate in both cities about how seriously Gurriel’s behavior should be taken.

In Koreatown, Maria Rizo, who is Cuban American, said she didn’t see anything wrong with it. “It’s like saying African American or Hispanic,” she said.

In Houston, Britny Cuellar and her husband said the gesture made them groan because they worried it would overshadow all the team has accomplished. Cuellar, a 27-year-old schoolteacher, was pushing their 2-year-old daughter in a stroller outside Minute Maid Park on Saturday, decked out in Astros gear...