The grace of Yu Darvish

The Dodgers may have one of the whitest baseball teams in the Major Leagues, but they do have a Japanese-Iranian pitcher, a man named Yu Darvish.

Darvish started Game 3 of the World Series on Friday and an Astros player, the Cuban-born Yuli Gurriel, hit a home run off him. Yep, that happens sometimes in baseball.

What doesn’t—shouldn’t—happen in baseball is what did happen next: Gurriel returned to his dugout and pulled the corners of his eyes up in a slant while uttering what lip-readers could clearly see was a racist slur.

Major League Baseball was swift to condemn the gesture. They suspended Gurriel for five games. Starting in April.

Where’s the sting in that? As Martin Luther King said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Still, there was one moment of grace—brought to us by the man the slur was directed at, Yu Darvish. Asked about it after the game, he called the gesture “disrespectful” adding:

“Nobody’s perfect. And everybody’s different,” he says. ” And we’re going to have to learn from it. We are all human beings. That’s what I’m saying. We’ll learn from it and we have to go forward.”

“One of the most gracious and helpful statements”

The next day, Darvish expanded on that in a tweet:

“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.”

On the News & Guts Facebook page, journalist Dan Rather wrote

“In all of my years covering civil rights, this is one of the most gracious and helpful statements I have read. It is in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the response and conversation that this helped spark is bringing us together as a nation, rather than what we are seeing on the political level.”

Rather pointed out that the choices we make can exacerbate the divisiveness in our country or, perhaps, ease it:

Each of us has a decision to make, especially those in leadership or before the public eye. Do we succumb to intolerance? Do we refuse to listen to the voices of others? Do we play with the easy currency of fear? Or do we recognize that the only future worth a damn for our country, and our world, is to try to get along?

What’s your choice today?


Want to communicate more courageously? Click here to get my e-book Do It Anyway: Tips for Courageous Writing


Also published on Medium.

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