Yuli Gurriel could be suspended from the World Series for his actions during Friday night’s game, in which the Astros first baseman was spotted on camera mocking Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish’s ethnicity and mouthing the word “Chinito,” a derogatory Spanish slur that is literally translated as “little Chinese person” but is more equivalent to “Chink” in English.
(Yu Darvish is Japanese.)
Gurriel apologized after the game, telling the press that he was trying to send a message to his family:
“I didn’t try to offend nobody,” Gurriel said in Spanish through a translator. “I was commenting to my family that I didn’t have any luck against Japanese pitchers here in the United States.”
What makes Gurriel’s involvement here interesting is that he actually lived and worked in Japan prior to arriving in U.S. baseball. And yet:
He said he didn’t realize the gesture, and the term, could be construed as offensive until someone pulled him aside and explained the connotations in the United States.
He said that in Cuba, the term Chino is used to refer to all people of Asian descent.
“When I was in Japan, I didn’t know that was offensive to them and they don’t like that,” Gurriel said. “I didn’t mean to do it.”
Ignorance is not supposed to be a defense, but if Yuli Gurriel is truly as ignorant as he seems to be suggesting he is, we’d count on Rob Manfred going easy on him.