"If a player had mocked an African American, he would likely have been suspended immediately."
Asian Americans have expressed their outrage over the delayed suspension of Houston Astros baseman Yuli Gurriel.
Last week, 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”.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred condemned Gurriel’s behaviour, giving him a five game ban, starting in the 2018 season. In a statement, Manfred said:
“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.”
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) October 28, 2017
However, a number of leaders in the Asian American community are not happy with the delayed suspension.
ABC7 reports that Guy Aoki, Founding President of Media Action Network for Asian Americans, said, “five days later, this anger has not abated. In fact, it has only grown.”
A news conference at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo held by a coalition of Asian American organizations denounced Manfred’s decision to delay his suspension.
“It’s like getting punished as a kid, but having your parents say, ‘Well, we’ll punish you next year,'” said Gary Mayeda, National President of the Japanese American Citizens League.
“The feeling of many in our community is that if a player had mocked or made a racial gesture aimed at an African American, he would likely have been suspended immediately, World Series or not,” Aoki said.
Gurriel and MLB officials have been invited to the museum to begin a dialogue.
“We want the commissioner to be much more aware and sensitive over the issue, and we want to send a message to kids of all nations, whether they play little league, whether they play at the schoolhouse yard. We want them to know that these kinds of gestures are not OK,” Mayeda added.