Yuli Gurriel suspended 5 games in 2018 for racist gesture at Yu Darvish

HOUSTON – Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros has been suspended for five games next season for making a racist gesture at Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during the World Series.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the penalty Saturday, a day after Gurriel's actions during Game 3.

Manfred said he didn't think it would be fair to penalize the rest of the Astros by suspending Gurriel during the World Series. Manfred said he understood other people might take a different view.

Gurriel will miss the first five games of the 2018 season and will not be paid during his suspension.

Comments about the gesture instantly lit up social media.

Gurriel said after the game that he did not mean to offend anyone, and said he has a lot of respect for the people of Japan.

“Japan open my doors to be in the baseball,” Gurriel said, through an interpreter. “I didn’t mean to do anything (offensive).”

When asked if he would speak to Darvish about the incident, Gurriel said he would welcome the conversation.

“Of course I want to talk to him because I have nothing against him,” Gurriel said, through an interpreter. “I think he is one of the best pitchers in Japan. I’ve never had success against him. That’s what I said.”

Gurriel said he had no idea that he had done anything offensive until after someone pulled him aside and told him about the controversy.

“During last night’s game, I made an offensive gesture that was indefensible," Gurriel said. "I sincerely apologize to everyone that I offended with my actions. I deeply regret it. I would particularly like to apologize to Yu Darvish, a pitcher that I admire and respect. I would also like to apologize to the Dodgers organization, the Astros, Major League Baseball and to all fans across the game.”

The Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow released the following statement after the Gurriel's suspension:

"The Houston Astros were surprised and disappointed by the behavior displayed by Yuli Gurriel during last night's game. The Astros and Major League Baseball pride ourselves on the diversity of our sport and in showing respect to all cultures represented by our players, front office staff, fans and members of the media.

"Yuli has always demonstrated respectful behavior and is extremely remorseful for his actions. Appropriately, Yuli has apologized for his gesture. He had no intention of offending anyone, but now recognizes the perceived offensiveness of his actions.

"We support Major League Baseball's decision of a five-game suspension for the 2018 season. The Astros will donate Yuli's salary for these five games in equal parts to the Astros Foundation and to a charity directly sporting diversity efforts."

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