CHICAGO — Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts and Julian Green, the team's vice president of communications, met with the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Friday, days after the publication of a series of emails from Joe Ricketts in which he shared and endorsed racist jokes and conspiracy theories.
In an interview Monday with WSCR-AM 670's "Mully & Haugh Show," Green said: "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."
Islamophobia was prevalent in many of the emails, with Joe Ricketts, the patriarch of the family that owns the Cubs, stating in one that "Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy." Others mentioned the faith of former President Barack Obama. Several were short replies to forwarded emails, including one in April 2011 that included the words "great laugh" in response to a joke with a racist slur for its punchline.
Ricketts apologized last week: "I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails. Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I've said things that don't reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong."
Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of CAIR, held a news conference soon after Splinter News published the emails and said it was good they were made public.
"It's important to note that had these emails not been leaked, where would we be now?" Rehab said. "What kind of playing out of these sentiments would occur within the Cubs establishment against fans, against players who were Muslim who want to play on the team? Would they play out in discriminatory fashion? Would they play out in ways that would put the Muslims on the side toward marginalize and even demonize?
"And so it's good that they've been leaked. But the question is: What would have happened if they weren't? So we got the apology now that they've been leaked. But the positions are there. So what we need to address very clearly and concretely is what ways the Cubs establishment, beyond apologizing for the emails being leaked, step up and show through concrete action that they recommit to the anti-bigotry values of Chicago, to work with the Muslim community, to show that in concrete fashion, and other communities affected by this very problematic, hatred rhetoric."
Rehab said CAIR was "calling for a conversation and ways to move forward." He added that Tom Ricketts and Green reached out less than 24 hours after the emails were published.
And on Friday they met.
"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," Green told The Score. "We also said we're not going to paper over this or say, 'Hey, let's do Muslim Night at the ballpark.'
"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."