Los Angeles - The Chicago Cubs launched an investigation on Wednesday after a fan
was caught making a racist gesture behind an African-American television
reporter during a broadcast.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Cubs said any fan found guilty of
racist behaviour would be banned for life from Wrigley Field.
The statement came after the incident on Tuesday, when a fan standing
behind NBC reporter Doug Glanville was seen making an upside down "OK"
sign, a gesture which is associated with white supremacist movements.
"An individual seated behind Mr Glanville used what appears to be an
offensive hand gesture that is associated with racism," Cubs president
of business operations Crane Kenney said in a statement.
"Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley
Field. We are reviewing the incident thoroughly because no one should be
subjected to this type of offensive behavior.
"Any derogatory conduct should be reported immediately to our
ballpark staff. Any individual behaving in this manner will not only be
removed from the ballpark, but will be permanently banned from Wrigley
Kenney told WSCR-AM 670 sports radio in Chicago on Wednesday that the
Cubs were certain the gesture had been made with racist intent,
dismissing suggestions that the fan may have been playing a version of
the 'circle game', a playground game where participants attempt to get
others to look at a hand gesture inadvertently.
"We reached the conclusion that it's more likely than not that this
person was using that hand signal as a racist way of interfering with
everyone's enjoyment of the game," Kenney said.
"Whether this person is going to ultimately say he intended it, that
he was playing 'the circle game' or some other stunt, the judgment to
use that in connection with a respected reporter who happens to be
African-American doing his job ... that coincidence is not going to fly
here," Kenney added.