Astros player’s racist gesture on display during World Series

Houston Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel. Kyodo News photo

Houston Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel will be suspended for the first five games of the 2018 MLB season for making a racist gesture Oct. 27 during the World Series.

After hitting a home run off the Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish during Game 3 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Gurriel, 33, brought his fingers to his eyes, making an offensive gesture that is commonly used to mock Asians. He also appeared to say “Chinito,” a Spanish word that many view as a slur toward Asians.

Darvish, 31, is of Japanese and Iranian descent.

A number of Japanese American and Asian American and Pacific Islander groups, including the Japanese American Citizens League and the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, condemned Gurriel’s actions and criticized Major League Baseball’s decision to delay his punishment.

The racist gesture also was met with widespread outrage by Asian Americans on social media as well.

According to MLB.com, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said during a pregame press conference Oct. 28, “there is no place in our game for the behavior or any behavior like the behavior we witnessed last night.”

He said that Gurriel would be suspended for five games without pay, starting at the beginning of the 2018 season. Manfred said he felt it would be “unfair to punish” the other Astros players by immediately suspending Gurriel.

Manfred added that “in a gesture of support,” the Astros will “donate the foregone salary to charitable causes.” He added that the Astros’ first base player, who is originally from Cuba, will undergo sensitivity training during the offseason.

According to MLB.com reporter Joshua Thorton, Gurriel said the following through a translator after Game 3: “I didn’t want to offend anybody. I don’t want to offend him or anybody in Japan.”

Darvish took to Twitter after the game, saying, “No one is perfect. That includes both you and I.

What he had done today isn’t right, but I believe we should put our effort into learning rather than accuse him. … Let’s stay positive and move forward instead of focusing on anger. I’m counting on everyone’s big love.”

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts was born in Okinawa to an African American father and a Japanese mother.

The Astros went on to beat the Dodgers in Game 7.

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