Cubs Meet With Chicago Muslim Group

"We can take some actual steps to do some good," spokesman Julian Green says.

Mully & Haugh Show
February 11, 2019 - 12:25 pm
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(670 The Score) In the wake of racist and Islamophobic emails from Cubs family patriarch Joe Ricketts being released last week, chairman Tom Ricketts, his son, and team vice president of communications Julian Green met with the the Council On American Islamic Relations on Friday.

The meeting between the Cubs and CAIR was held not only as an act of contrition from the Cubs but also to establish an understanding for the pain caused by the Joe Ricketts emails, which included him writing: "I think Islam is a cult and not a religion. Christianity and Judaism are ... based on love whereas Islam is based on ‘kill the infidel’ a thing of evil."

Green joined the Mully & Haugh Show on Monday morning to discuss the meeting with CAIR and several other local groups.

"What we're attempting to do is mend fences and try to take a very sad, hurtful, offensive situation and turn it into something good," Green said. "Even though it wasn't Tom or the Cubs to make those comments, I think Tom was proactive and self-aware enough to know, obviously, the (Ricketts) name being associated with the team. There's an opportunity here to make sure we can step out and help in terms of eradicating Islamophobia. 

"We heard from the organization that it's not just the emails and what was said, it helps embolden those who are using that hurtful and offensive comment. They played for us a couple messages of people calling to their organization threatening and hurling racist comments. It was difficult to hear. It was emotional for both me and Tom. I think anything that we can do as an organization to try to step up and try to help with that is something certainly something we're looking forward to and want to be a part of."

Joe Ricketts issued an apology in the aftermath of the emails from 2009 through 2013 being exposed by the website Splinter News. Tom Ricketts also issued a statement in which he condemned the racist comments while confirming that his father isn't actively involved in the Cubs' ownership operation.

Still, Tom Ricketts and the Cubs believed it would be best for the organization to offer its remorse and support to local Islam groups such as CAIR.

"The easiest thing you could say would be, 'Hey, look. It wasn't me that said it. It what Joe's emails,'" Green said. "And (Tom) didn't say that. He said that, 'I understand as a member of the family, it's tough to separate. What we can do now is with their help, try to take concrete, meaningful steps.' 

"One of the things that Tom and I agreed is that we didn't come into the meeting to stand up with a photo op with a check to give to the organization, nor did they recommend that. We also said we're not going to taper over this or say, 'Hey, let's do Muslin Night at the ballpark.' 

"We're not looking to taper over this for a photo op. We're going to be involved, take some concrete and actual steps. We want to make sure that it's thoughtful, that it's meaningful, that it's not tone-deaf. We didn't come up with any five-point plan in the meeting, but I think it was productive, it was positive and we'll likely have more meetings.

"It wasn't about the emails. It was about the realities that they face every day."

Green said he and Ricketts were hurt by hearing the racist phone messages saved that were played by CAIR. Green also heard the story of a member from the group being referred to with a racist slur in front of children.

The Cubs hope to continue their meetings with CAIR and other local groups in the future.

"There's still a lot of work to be done," Green said. "Not only for African-Americans and Hispanics and Muslims but in terms of trying to help fight racism and specifically Islamophobia. That's something we can help be a part of. Hopefully in the coming weeks and days, we can take a real meaningful step. And that's a good thing.

"We can take some actual steps to do some good. And that's something we're looking forward to."