At the beginning of the bottom of the third inning of the Marlins-Cubs game the night before, the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast cut badyst Doug Glanville for an update. While Glanville was talking, a fan in a hooded sweatshirt waved at the camera, showed a sign of peace and then waved his fingers in order.
Cubs president Crane Kenney issued a statement this morning condemning the "ignorant and repulsive behavior" and threatening to ban fanatics' lives. "Any derogatory conduct must be reported immediately to our stadium staff. "Anyone who behaves in this way will not only be eliminated from the field, but will also be permanently excluded from Wrigley Field," he said. Kenney also went to the radio today and said that somehow they determined that the fanatic was using the gesture with malice:
"We came to the conclusion that it is more likely that this person is not using that hand signal as a racist way of interfering with the enjoyment of the game by everyone." That investigation has almost reached its conclusion. about that in a moment, we'll take action as a result. "
Glanville also issued a statement, thanking the Cubs for their "sensitivity" in this regard.
I applaud the responsiveness of the Chicago Cubs organization and NBC Sports in investigating this issue. I have been contacted and support my role in the broadcast and continue to have the desire to maintain an inclusive environment at Wrigley Field. They have shown sensitivity as to how the implications of this would affect me as a person of color.
Later on Wednesday, the Cubs. posted a follow-up statement Officially banning the fan. They said they could not communicate with the fan by phone, but they sent him a letter informing him that he would not allow it at Wrigley Field "indefinitely." The team added that they will not divulge the fan's name to the public.
The odious valence of that gesture is an open question, and while it is well established that it means "Good" or is part of a game in which you and your friends hit each other, 4Chan trolls began a successful campaign to present it as a supposed symbol of white power. The goal was to make media types vanish in a meaningless gesture and then look foolish when everyone told them to stop demonizing people because the gesture is simply part of the "game of the circle". Kenney said the club would not buy the excuse of the circle game because of the details of the fan's performance:
"If this person is finally going to say that he tried, he was playing the game of the circle or some other trick, the trial to use it in connection with a respected reporter who is African American doing his job, and we love Doug and he do a job incredible for all of us, that connection … the coincidence is not going to fly here. "
The editor of Deadspin Lauren Theisen contributed to this report.