Heave, ho. Joe must go.
Joe Ricketts, the billionaire patriarch of the family that owns the Cubs, was stripped bare once and for all Monday, with leaked emails published by the site Splinter revealing the man in a truly hideous display.
Indeed, such an unseemly topic with which to begin this new weekly column.
To put a fine point on it, emails Ricketts wrote and/or shared contained a multitude of racist jokes, Islamophobic rants and departures from reality that would make even the most dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy loon blush.
Muslims, African-Americans, Hispanics, Civil Rights leaders, proponents of diversity and multiculturalism, former President Barack Obama and his supporters — all were on the business end of insidious thoughts and highly offensive language. It was enough to make anyone with a brain and a conscience dizzy with outrage.
The 77-year-old Ricketts’ written apology was pathetic.
“I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails,” he said. “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.”
Too late for that, pal. You’ve been outed.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts was quick to distance the organization from the “language and views” in his father’s emails, saying they “do not reflect the [Cubs’] culture.” He also claimed his father “is not involved with the operation of the Chicago Cubs in any way.”
In a sense, that’s true: Joe Ricketts’ children run the team business. But Old Joe is more than just the bumbling, embarrassing uncle or grandpa at Thanksgiving. He is the money behind the whole operation. He is the driver of the family clown car.
For those who have been led to believe Joe Ricketts didn't buy the Cubs or otherwise isn't part of the ownership:https://t.co/vNAtpJHKDt— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 5, 2019
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, heavy-handed political clout and your money — that’s what this family is about, and not in that order. For many, it will be harder than ever to separate the gosh-golly lovability of the Cubs from the political heft of the Ricketts family and all the divisiveness that implies in 2019 America.
Republican Pete Ricketts is Nebraska’s governor, at a time when Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia is being called upon by members of his own Democratic Party to resign amid a racist photo controversy. Todd Ricketts is overseeing fundraising for Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. Joe Ricketts funded a Super PAC that went after Obama in such incendiary fashion in 2012 that it ended up costing the Cubs a $150 million public-funding package for renovations at Wrigley Field.
“Joe Ricketts once said that I do not share his values,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel tweeted Tuesday. “Truer words were never spoken. The ignorance and intolerance he has espoused are not welcome in Chicago.”
Old Joe may not have a day-to-day role in running the Cubs, but he’s cashing ownership checks. Unless and until that ceases, his gilded offspring should be questioned at every turn about what steps they are taking to make Cubdom a brighter, better place for all.
I’m just sayin’
How much longer must ex-coordinator Vic Fangio and the Bears’ defensive stars hide their faces in shame for allowing the Rams to pile up a whopping six points — a full twice their Super Bowl output — back in December?
• Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Rams foisted the most boring Super Bowl performance of all time upon the masses. It seems you can take a football team out of St. Louis, but you can’t take the St. Louis out of a football team.
• Maybe a nickname would endear Gregg Popovich-loving Bulls coach Jim Boylen to the masses during this lost season. Isn’t he rather like the man affectionately known as “Pop,” minus the alluring flavors of discernible strategy and, you know, winning? Consider the cold crispness of “Pop Zero.”
• Are the Bulls really considering a trade for the Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope so soon after acquiring Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot from the Thunder? Imagine the poor, ill-treated soul who’s tasked with stitching those names onto the backs of jerseys.
• The words “college basketball” and “wasteland” come to mind.
Did you catch Northwestern’s 59-52 loss at home Monday against Penn State? The Nittany Lions came in with an 0-10 Big Ten record and left with whatever remained of the Wildcats’ hopes for a respectable season. The night ended with Northwestern and Illinois tied at 3-8 in league play, one notch above last place.
Yep, as far as our hopes of having a team in the NCAA Tournament go, it’s up-and-down Loyola winning another Missouri Valley tournament title or bust.
Brandon Saad: His former coach — a guy by the name of Quenneville — painted him as a player with motor issues. Saad has done nothing but grind this season, and his goal-scoring has been one of the drivers of the Blackhawks’ turnaround from abject awfulness to (how to put this?) not-so-awfulness. With 17 goals entering Tuesday, the winger is on pace to top his high with the Hawks: 23 goals in 2014-15.
Blake Peters: Since our story on the Evanston sophomore guard one year after his 80-foot game-winning shot, Peters has made 22 of 34 three-pointers for the No. 5 team in the Sun-Times’ Super 25.
Paul Reed: DePaul hasn’t fully emerged yet, but the 6-9 sophomore is exploding. Reed has scored at least 18 points in six of his last seven games, has rebounded like a monster and has begun taking — and making — threes like a natural-born marksman. An NBA talent? I’m betting on it.