The Chicago Cubs permanently banned a fan who displayed an allegedly racist hand gesture behind a black broadcaster during a televised game Tuesday, according to CBS News.
Cubs president Theo Epstein announced the ban Wednesday, after the team was able to identify the fan. Epstein said it was important to send a strong message with the punishment.
“We’ve made clear how egregious and unacceptable that behavior is,” Epstein said. “There’s no place for it in our society, in baseball, certainly no place for it at Wrigley Field. The person responsible for that gesture will never be welcomed back at Wrigley Field. I think its important to have a strong response to send a message that this is a place of inclusion, this is a place of connectedness. We are a welcoming organization, and I think those are the values—we value diversity, we value inclusion.”
The fan was sitting behind NBC Chicago broadcaster Doug Glanville during a live shot, and knowing he was on camera, flashed the “OK” hand signal that has been reportedly adopted by some white supremacist groups.
Fans noticed the hand sign and began posting about it on social media. Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney issued a statement hours afterward condemning it.
“An individual seated behind Mr. Glanville used what appears to be an offensive hand gesture that is associated with racism,” Kenney said. “Such ignorant and repulsive behavior is not tolerated at Wrigley Field.”
A Cubs spokesman also said the team is trying to figure out how the fan got the seat where he could be on camera.
“We’re actively trying to find out the circumstances of how this person got into the seat and who they are, and that’s important,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said. “As we suggested in our statement last night, this type of behavior is reprehensible, it’s ignorant, and it’s not welcome at our ballpark.”