Astros’ Yuli Gurriel Called Out For Racist Gesture, Mocking Asians

Astros’ Yuli Gurriel is being called out and suspended without pay at the start of the 2018 season after television cameras captured him making a racist gesture. Yuli Gurriel was also mouthing a word with “racial overtones” after hitting a home run off of an Asian pitcher. The behavior was purportedly aimed at Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, who was born in Japan and was on the mound at the time of the incident. Gurriel oddly was allegedly mouthing “Chinito” which is Spanish slang for Chinese boy, despite the fact that Darvish isn’t Chinese.

Sadly, MLB had to come down on Astros’ Yuli Gurriel because his racist behavior is not an anomaly in baseball and in sports. Last October in the American League Wild Card game, the Baltimore Orioles played the Toronto Blue Jays at Toronto when a Blue Jays fan threw his full can of beer on Baltimore Orioles outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim during the game. The event was considered an embarrassment for the city of Toronto, and the culprit Ken Pagan was arrested and charged with mischief. Pagan also lost his job as result of his behavior.

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who has also been the victim of racism on the field, says that physically assaulting a player during a game is the lowest, no matter what is fueling it.

“That’s about as pathetic as it gets. You don’t do that. I don’t care how passionate you are. Yell. Cuss. Scream. Say we suck. We’re horrible. We get it. We’re the opponent. We completely understand that.”

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The L.A. Times says that Yu Darvish, the pitcher, was born in Osaka, Japan to a Japanese mother and an Iranian father. Yuli Gurriel was born in Cuba and has played there and Japan before coming to play in the U.S. Darvish said that he isn’t angry with Gurriel, but he can’t speak for all baseball fans, especially those who are fans of the Astros.

“Personally, it doesn’t really bother me. But I’m sure the Astros have Asian fans, and there are a lot of Asian people all over the world, and to those people, from a humanistic perspective and as a baseball organization, I thought the Astros’ image might suffer as a result.”

Darvish said as citizens of the world, we can all hopefully learn from this, and he assumes that Yuli Gurriel has also learned from it.

Yuli Gurriel said he didn’t realize that “Chinitos” was regarded as a racial slur among Asians, and he explained that “Chinitos” is (mistakenly) used for all Asians.

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Yuli Gurriel continues to stress that he meant no ill will toward Yu Darvish or any Asians. Nevertheless, Gurriel apologized publicly if he offended anyone. He said his behavior and the pulling of the corners of his eyes were a reaction to the fact that Darvish usually had the ability to strike him out. Yuli Gurriel expresses that he now understands that his words and actions were offensive.

“I made an offensive gesture that was indefensible. I sincerely apologize to everyone that I offended with my actions. I deeply regret it. I would particularly like to apologize to Yu Darvish, a pitcher that I admire and respect. I would also like to apologize to the Dodgers organization, the Astros, Major League Baseball and to all fans [across] the game.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that there is no excuse or explanation that makes Yuli Gurriel’s behavior okay, and that Gurriel will accept any punishment handed down. Manfred also says that Gurriel will have to undergo sensitivity training in the offseason.


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Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow says that the whole team was “surprised and disappointed” by Yuli Gurriel’s behavior and respected the punishment that was handed down.

Yuli Gurriel and the Astros are just reportedly happy that Gurriel’s ban did not start immediately.

Do you think it’s right that Astros’ Yuli Gurriel was called out and punished for his racist behavior? Do you think the punishment fits the crime?

[Featured Image by Justin Heiman/Getty Images]