The Minnesota Twins on Friday introduced they eliminated a statue of former proprietor Calvin Griffith at Goal Discipline, citing racist remarks he made in 1978.
Griffith’s statue was one among a number of put in when the staff opened the ballpark in 2010. Its elimination got here on Juneteenth, the normal commemoration of emancipation of enslaved African People, and on the identical day as a statue of a former Washington Redskins proprietor was faraway from exterior the staff’s outdated RFK Stadium.
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“While we acknowledge the prominent role Calvin Griffith played in our history, we cannot remain silent and continue ignoring the racist comments he made in Waseca in 1978,” the Twins said in a statement Friday. “His disparaging words displayed a blatant intolerance and disregard for the black community that are the antithesis of what the Minnesota Twins stand for and value.”
Griffith moved the Washington Senators to Minnesota for the 1961 season, and the franchise was renamed the Twins.
Throughout a speech in Minnesota to a Waseca Lions membership in 1978, he stated he determined to make the transfer “when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here,” the Minneapolis Tribune reported at the time.
“Our decision to memorialize Calvin Griffith with a statue reflects an ignorance on our part of systemic racism present in 1978, 2010 and today,” the Twins said. “We apologize for our failure to adequately recognize how the statue was viewed and the pain it caused for many people – both inside the Twins organization and across Twins Territory. We cannot remove Calvin Griffith from the history of the Minnesota Twins, but we believe removal of this statue is an important and necessary step in our ongoing commitment to provide a Target Field experience where every fan and employee feels safe and welcome.”
Spokesman Dustin Morse stated the elimination was an inside determination, however the staff had “certainly heard from outside fans and the community over the years” about Griffith’s remarks.
Griffith bought the Twins to banker Carl Pohlad in 1984. Griffith died in 1999.
“We’re very honored that Calvin’s statue appeared at Target Field for 10 years, and we thank the Twins for that consideration,” stated Clark Griffith, Calvin’s son. Clark Griffith, a enterprise guide in Minneapolis, stated he had no additional remark.
Twins Corridor of Famer Rod Carew, whom Pohlad scorned as a “damn fool” within the Waseca speech for signing a contract that underpaid him, stated he revered the choice to remove the statue. He recalled his anger on the time however stated he later forgave Griffith.
“Now that more than four decades have passed, I look back on Calvin’s comments and our personal relationship with additional context and perspective,” Carew said in a statement through the team. “In my view, Calvin made a horrible mistake while giving that speech in 1978. I have no idea what happened that day, but who among us has not made a mistake? I know Calvin paid a heavy price for those comments and I believe his thoughts on race evolved over time.”
In Washington, the company that manages RFK Stadium on Friday eliminated a statue of George Preston Marshall, who moved the staff from Boston to Washington. Marshall resisted integrating the staff with black gamers till “forced to do so” in 1962, in accordance with his biography on the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame web site. Marshall was inducted into the Corridor in 1963; he died in 1969.
Occasions DC officers referred to as the elimination “a small and overdue step on the road to lasting equality and justice.” A Redskins spokesman didn’t instantly remark.
Statues of figures with racist pasts or deemed to be racist have been torn down across the U.S. in current weeks following George Floyd’s demise in Might after a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes. A statute of Christopher Columbus was pulled down on the Capitol in St. Paul.
A statue of former Carolina Panthers proprietor Jerry Richardson, who was accused in 2017 of constructing sexually suggestive feedback to girls and a racial slur directed at a black staff scout, was lifted from its pedestal exterior the staff’s stadium and brought away final week.