Cubs president Theo Epstein built World Series winners with the Boston Red Sox and broke the title curse in Chicago, but he said he failed in championing diversity along the way.
“I’ve hired a Black scouting director, [and] farm director in the past, but the majority of people that I’ve hired, if I’m being honest, have similar backgrounds as me and look a lot like me,” Epstein said on a conference call Monday. “That’s something I need to ask myself why. I need to question my own assumptions, my own attitudes. I need to find a way to be better.”
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has forced Epstein to review his own approach to equality and creating opportunities for minorities. He has never hired a Black manager, for example, and the team’s current management structure is comprised entirely of white males.
The Cubs, Esptein said, are creating a diversity committee to set new standards and bring accountability to the organization. He also said the challenge is league-wide, with the number of Black players reduced to 7.7 per cent in 2019.
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“It can be hard, and it can be painful to look at ourselves, but when the problem is systemic, we all have to admit that we’re all part of the problem, and we all have to do better to become part of the solution,” Epstein said.
“And as a white person who’s had a lot of advantages and a lot of privilege, I can’t begin to walk in the shoes of a Black person in this country or a Black player in Major League Baseball.
“I think I can also look inward, too. I think that’s another step that we all have to take in society as well as in the game is being able to look hard at ourselves.
“To the extent that the clubhouses are not a welcome enough place for Black players, we should all be asking ourselves what we can do to fix that problem. To the extent that we don’t have enough Black general managers or Black managers, I think we all need to look at ourselves, at our own practices. If there’s one thing we’ve learned with systemic racism in general, the system doesn’t fix itself. It’s on each of us to take action to stand up and make some changes.”
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