Through The Static

April 23, 2008

Cubs pull Fukudome shirt after Sun-Times report

Filed under: Culture,Race,Sports — disciplepete @ 8:12 pm

Racism is usually associated with hostility, right? It’s kind of a trip when people who supposedly admire you pull out some ridiculous racist shit to show their appreciation. The Chicago Cubs have a brand new player on their team this year from Japan, Kosuke Fukudome. He’s done pretty well so far in the young season. So check this out:

Within hours of a Sun-Times report on Friday detailing the sale near Wrigley Field of a Kosuke Fukudome T-shirt bearing a racist image, the Cubs put a stop to the production and sale of the shirt.

Inundated with e-mails from offended fans, Cubs officials investigated, discovered the unlicensed product used a trademarked Cubs logo and confronted the vendor – who complied with the team’s demand to pull the shirt and cease production.

The shirt used the traditional Cubs cartoon bear face but with slanted eyes and wearing oversized Harry Caray-style glasses. It was accompanied by the words “Horry Kow!” scrawled in cartoonish “Japanese” script.

Mark Kolbusz, who runs the souvenir trailer on Addison that sold the shirt, said it was his top selling shirt this season.

“I don’t know what the creator of the shirt meant this to be, but they should make it right,” Fukudome said Thursday through his interpreter when shown the shirt.

Jeez. This is how they treat a player they LIKE. There’s a huge consituency of idiots among sports fans, but I have never heard of anything like this (racist merchandise/signs/etc.) since players from Asia started coming into Major League Baseball around the mid 90s. Several of them have been exceptional players and the fans have by and large warmed to them. I mean if people would do to this to players who they root for, it just goes to show the utter insensitivity and ignorance of these people.

To the credit of the fans, at least a significant number complained about the shirt. Fukudome seems like he understands what the hoopla is about, and it sucks that he’s getting this crap in his debut in the U.S., especially considering the fact that he’s been giving the fans plenty to cheer about.

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