October 31, 2017
Dear Mr. Rob Manfred:
We are extremely disappointed in Yuli Gurriel’s show of bad sportsmanship when he made a racist gesture and uttered a racial slur against LA Dodgers’ Yu Darvish. Not only was this offensive to Mr. Darvish, but also to the many Asian baseball fans watching across the nation and worldwide. The MLB should have suspended Mr. Gurriel immediately for Game Five during the World Series. As such, the MLB should place a heavier fine on Mr. Gurriel and the Astros, as well as future immediate suspension for any racial slur or gesture against a player.
Although Mr. Gurriel publicly apologized after the game, it took 18 hours before there was an announcement that he would be suspended for five games without pay in the 2018 season. This sentence seems cosmetic and further insults the Asian and Asian American community.
The gesture of slanted eyes has historically been used to demonize and ostracize Asians, and it is the responsibility of an individual player, a team, and the MLB to make sure that this is understood – just as it is understood that it is, under any circumstances, appropriate to use the “n” word. Though we understand that Mr. Gurriel may not have thought the word he uttered, “chinito,” was a racial slur due to cultural differences, he knew that his hand gesture was wrong.
The MLB punishes players for sins against baseball and sins against the greater society, and racism should not be exempt. The MLB must show that it will not tolerate discrimination, racism and slurs by both members of the MLB and baseball fans alike.
Many members of the Asian American community agree that the MLB has not done enough in reprimanding Mr. Gurriel and the Astros. We believe that can begin with stronger discipline such as an additional fine to the Astros next season and thorough diversity training. Please feel free to contact Thu Nguyen at (202) 223-5500 ext. 119 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates