Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish found himself in a difficult spot following Game 3 of the World Series. During the contest, cameras captured Houston Astros first baseman Yulieski Gurriel make a racial gesture directed at Darvish while in the dugout.
After hitting a home run off Darvish in the second inning, Gurriel made a slanted-eye gesture while talking to his teammates. Many watching interpreted the gesture to be offensive toward Asian people.
After the Dodgers’ 5-3 loss, Darvish took questions about the gesture. In that moment, he told reporters it was “disrespectful” and that Gurriel would “learn from [his mistake.]” Later, Darvish released a statement on the incident, and provided expanded thoughts on the situation.
Darvish’s statement reads:
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 to accuse him. If we can take something from this, that is a giant step for mankind. Since we are living in such a wonderful world, let’s stay positive and move forward instead of focusing on anger. I’m counting on everyone’s big love.
Here’s footage of the incident:
Gurriel said after the game that he “didn’t want to offend anybody,” and that he respects Japan. Commissioner Rob Manfred will meet with Gurriel on Saturday and determine whether the 33-year-old should be punished.
Darvish had every right to be angry with Gurriel following the incident, but opted for compassion in his statement.
While Darvish is being praised — and rightly so — his words shouldn’t excuse Gurriel’s actions. We shouldn’t look at Darvish’s statement as the end of this situation. Gurriel is not absolved of his sins because Darvish didn’t get angry with him. He still needs to be held accountable for making an offensive gesture.
Part of that accountability could come in the form of a suspension. If that is part of the “learning” Darvish spoke of in his statement, then so be it.
Darvish’s statement doesn’t just apply to Gurriel, though. It’s an opportunity for people to reflect, understand and have empathy for others. He set that example with his words after the game.
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