The Houston Astros baseman appeared to say the word 'chinito' which translates to ‘little Chinese boy'.
Houston Astros baseman Yuli Gurriel has been suspended for five games after making a racist Asian gesture towards Yu Darvish.
Yahoo Sports reports that Gurriel made a slanted eye gesture after hitting a home run against Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during Game 3 of the World Series. The 33-year-old Cuban baseman also appeared to say the word “chinto”, which translates to “little Chinese boy“.
Gurriel apologised for his actions.
“I didn’t want to offend anybody,” Gurriel said after the game. “I was commenting to my family that I didn’t have any luck against Japanese pitchers here in the United States. I didn’t want to offend anybody in Japan. I have a lot of respect for Japan. I played in Japan.”
Gurriel is also quoted by the LA Times to have said, “In Cuba and in various places, you don’t say ‘Japanese,’ you call all Asians ‘chinitos,’ But I was in Japan and I know they are offended by that.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred condemned Gurriel’s behaviour before Game 4. “There is no excuse of explanation that makes that type of behavior acceptable,” Manfred said. “Mr. Gurriel, to his credit, quickly realized last night that his behavior was wrong. He expressed remorse.”
“I met with him today. He reiterated that remorse and he has assured me that he will be offering a private apology to Mr. Darvish.”
Darvish released a statement on Twitter saying that Gurriel’s actions were “not right” but hopes that people can learn from the incident.
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) October 28, 2017
Gurriel will face a five game ban, starting in the 2018 season. Manfred explained the reasons behind the decision:
“The suspension will be served at the beginning of the 2018 season. I’ve decided on that timing really for four reasons: First of all, I thought it was important that the suspension carry with it the penalty of lost salary.”
“Secondly, I felt that it was unfair to punish the other 24 players on the Astros roster. I wanted the burden of this discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer.”
“Third, I was impressed in my conversation with Yu Darvish by his desire to move forward and I felt that moving the suspension to the beginning of the season would help in that regard.”
“Last, when I originally began thinking about the discipline, I thought that delaying the suspension would allow the player the opportunity to exercise his rights under the grievance procedure. It now appears, and I have every expectation, that he will not be exercising those rights.”
Houston Astros General Manager Jeff Lunhow released a statement regarding Gurriel too, saying that the team supports MLB’s decision to ban the baseman, adding that Gurriel’s salaray for the five games will be donated to the Astros Foundation and a “charity directly supporting diversity efforts”.
Nonetheless, many reacted negatively to Gurriel’s actions. Rapper Jason Chu said, “It just felt like, ‘Man, again?’ Like, we’re so used to this. People don’t even pause. They think that this is acceptable, socially, to target Asian Americans in this way, or Asians in general.”
“Unfortunately racism towards Asians is nothing new,” chef Roy Choi said in an email to the LA Times. “Doesn’t matter that Darvish is Japanese-Iranian and not Chinese.”
Actor Daniel Dae Kim weighed in on Twitter, “I didn’t mean to do anything offensive.” –#Gurriel. Yes, because we all know that doing this to an Asian is a universal sign of respect.”
“I didn’t mean to do anything offensive.” –#Gurriel. Yes, because we all know that doing this to an Asian is a universal sign of respect. pic.twitter.com/tfFO9ebyQU
— Daniel Dae Kim (@danieldaekim) October 28, 2017