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Pennsylvania paper calls for Maddon to apologize to Hazleton residents

Manager Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs looks on against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. | Rob Carr/Getty Images

A Pennsylvania paper is calling for Joe Maddon to apologize for saying Hazleton residents had to “either help or die.”

Maddon was recently featured on NBC News for his work with the Hazleton Integration Project (HIP). He spoke with NBC correspondent Harry Smith about HIP, which emphasizes cultural inclusion in Maddon’s hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

But one comment Maddon said during that interview didn’t sit well with Hazleton residents and a local paper.

“They’re going to save our town,” Maddon said of the newcomers to Hazleton. “You have two options right here. Either you get on board and help us as we’re moving this thing along or you’re going to die. And when you die and go away, then you’re going to get out of the way. You’re not going to be part of the problem anymore. So, it’s either help or die.”

Maddon’s comment sparked outrage among the local community.

“He’s full of himself,” one senior Hazleton resident told the The Times Leader.

“That was terrible. I hate him. I hope he doesn’t win one game,” another resident told the paper.

The Times Leader’s editorial staff demands that the Cubs manager to apologize for his “help or die” comment.

“Joe, you are not a social engineer,” the editorial staff wrote. “You are a baseball manager.

“He needs to apologize for insulting the hardworking and fair-minded people of Hazleton — they are many in number, contrary to what the national reports seem to imply. And we want to hear an apology straight from Maddon, not through a spokesperson or a family member.”

Maddon hasn’t publicly commented on the matter.