Yuli Gurriel Suspended for Five Games Next Season for Racist Gesture at Dodgers Yu Darvish

MLB's commissioner says it wouldn't be fair to penalize the rest of the Astros by suspending Gurriel during the World Series

Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros has been suspended for five games next season for making a racist gesture at Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during the World Series.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the penalty Saturday, a day after Gurriel's actions during Game 3.

Manfred said he didn't think it would be fair to penalize the rest of the Astros by suspending Gurriel during the World Series. Manfred said he understood other people might take a different view.

"There is no place in our game for the behavior -- or any behavior -- like the behavior we witnessed last night," Manfred said. "There is no excuse or explanation that makes that type of behavior acceptable. Mr Gurriel, to his credit, quickly realized that his behavior last night was wrong. He expressed remorse. I met with him today, he reiterated that remorse, and he has assured me that he will be offering a private apology to Mr. Darvish."

Gurriel will miss the first five games of the 2018 season and will not be paid during his suspension. He also will undergo sensitivity training in the offseason.

Manfred added that he was "impressed" in his conversation with Darvish by the pitcher's desire to "move forward." 

Gurriel released a statement after the commissioner's announcement.

"During last night's game, I made an offensive gesture that was indefensible," Gurriel said. "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."

Gurriel made the gesture after he had just smacked a home run off a struggling Darvish, who didn't make it out of the second inning. TV cameras showed Gurriel seated on the back of a dugout bench and gesturing toward the Dodger's right-hander, who was born in and started his professional baseball career in Japan.

Gurriel also appeared to mouth the word "Chinito," which is translated as "little Chinese boy." Gurriel, who is from Cuba, also played in Japan for one year.

During Friday's post-game interviews, both players spoke about Gurriel's actions.

"In Cuba and in other places, we call all Asian people Chinese," Gurriel said through a translator. "But I played in Japan and I know [that is] offensive, so I apologize for that."

Darvish called the actions "disrespectful."

"He made a mistake," he said. "He'll learn from it. We're all human beings."

In Houston's team statement, the organization expressed support for the decision to suspend Gurriel.

"The Houston Astros were surprised and disappointed by the behavior displayed by Yuli Gurriel during last night's game," according to the statement. "The Astros and Major League Baseball pride ourselves on the diversity of our sport and in showing great respect to all cultures represented by our players, front office staff, fans and members of the media. 

"Yuli has always demonstrated respectful behavior and is extremely remorseful for his actions. Appropriately, Yuli has apologized for his gesture. He had no intention of offending anyone, but now recognizes the perceived offensiveness of his actions."

The Japanese American Citizens League issued a statement Friday, condemning use of the gesture.

"Ignorance cannot be used as an excuse as by its very nature racism is always based in ignorance," the JACL statement said. "If the intent was not to offend, the gesture should never have been made."

The statement continued, "Some may say because this is the World Series, serious disciplinary action should not be administered. However, because this is the World Series and the world is watching MLB's response to this racist gesture, a strong message must be given that this is unacceptable."

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