The Chicago Cubs announced they are investigating a fan who appeared to flash a white power hand gesture during a live broadcast of Tuesday night’s game at Wrigley Field.
NBC Sports Chicago analyst and former Cubs outfielder Doug Glanville was doing a live shot when a fan seated behind him formed an upside down “OK” sign. The gesture has been appropriated by white supremacists in the United States and elsewhere.
Early Wednesday, Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney released a statement taking a strong stance against the gesture.
“Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley Field,” Kenney’s statement said. “We are reviewing the incident thoroughly because no one should be subjected to this type of offensive behavior.”
Kenney said fans showing racist behavior would face consequences.
“Any individual behaving in this manner will not only be removed from the ballpark, but will be permanently banned from Wrigley Field.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Glanville discussed the incident while he was on the Laurence Holmes Show on The Score, a Chicago sports radio station.
Glanville said he was unaware the gesture had taken place until he returned to the studio and checked his Twitter feed, where discussions were already underway.
Glanville said it is important to understand what happened before jumping to conclusions.
“I know it’s natural now to get the story and go crazy and then all of a sudden backpedal,” he said.
Glanville taught a class on the intersection of sports and social change at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater, and is currently teaching a similar course at Yale University.
In a statement, Kevin Cross, senior vice president and general manager at NBC Sports Chicago, said the network is “disappointed” by the incident and will support the Cubs’ investigation.
Last month, Major League Baseball said it would investigate racist messages sent to Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. on Instagram.
In February, a website leaked emails belonging to Joe Ricketts, patriarch of the family that owns the Cubs. Some of the exchanges were racist and Islamophobic. Ricketts later apologized for the emails, saying he believes “bigoted ideas are wrong.”
Since then, the Cubs have worked with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago.
Marley Arechiga is a news intern for WBEZ. Follow her @marleyarechiga.