Epstein says Cubs planning to create diversity committee

Sports

FILE – In this April 16, 2020 file photo, Wrigley Field’s marquee displays Lakeview Pantry volunteer information in Chicago. The Chicago Cubs are instituting pay cuts because of the coronavirus crisis, but there will be no furloughs through the end of June. A person with direct knowledge of the situation says the pay cuts were based on compensation. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein and president of business operations Crane Kenney took the highest reductions. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, May 21, 2020 on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, says 80% of associates are taking a pay cut of 20% or less. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are creating a diversity committee to help improve the organization’s standards and practices.

Owner Tom Ricketts and President of Business Operations Crane Kenney are leading the plans, according to President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have sparked protests across the country. Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and saying that he couldn’t breathe.

The protests also have led sports organizations to take a closer look at their history and policies when it comes to diversity.

“I’d like to start just by offering my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the countless victims who keep losing their lives to racist violence in this country year after year, decade after decade, century after century,” Epstein said Monday on a conference call ahead of baseball’s amateur draft.

“I join my colleagues at the Cubs in standing up in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters who are doing their best to make this a real inflection point in our history. At this moment in time, silence is complicity, and it’s important that all of our voices are heard,” he said.

Epstein said the committee “can make sure we set better standards for ourselves and hold ourselves accountable and be better on this issue.”

But the longtime baseball executive isn’t waiting for the committee when it comes to taking a closer look at his work, recently examining his own hiring practices.

“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. “That’s something that 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.”

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