A statue of the former Minnesota Twins owner who moved the baseball team from Washington DC to Minnesota in 1961 was torn down after it was highlighted that he made an insensitive comment in 1978.
A memorial to Calvin Griffith that has stood outside Target Field in Minneapolis for a decade is no longer there as of Friday. The Twins explained in a statement that his image can no longer stand becuase of something the now-deceased team owner said over 40 years ago.
“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 team said via Twitter.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) June 19, 2020
The team also chastised itself, bemoaning its own “ignorance” of “systemic racism.”
“Our decision to memorialize Calvin Griffith with a statement reflects an ignorance on our part of systemic racism present in 1979, 2010 [when the statue was put up] and today,” the Twins said.
The offensive comments that marked Griffith’s statue for destruction were uttered at a Rotary Club meeting in Waseca, Minnesota in 1978. There, the former team owner remarked in no uncertain terms that he dislikes how little black people follow professional baseball.
“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota,” he said, per the book You Gotta Have Heart, A History of Washington Baseball, according to Breitbart. “It was when I found out you only had 15,000 Blacks here. Black people don’t go to ball games, but they’ll fill up a rassling ring [sic] and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. It’s unbelievable. We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking, white people here.”
The intense focus on statues and removing them comes after George Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, sparking a nationwide wave of violent riots.
Now, the statue of Christopher Columbus that used to sit outside the Minnesota Capitol has been torn down and Democrat state legislators are calling for a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln to be removed from the premises as well. Some believe that Lincoln was a white supremacist based on his treatment of Native Americans.