In bid to buy Chelsea FC, Ricketts kids find it hard to distance themselves from dad’s racist views

It’s Joe Ricketts’ money, which he amassed through his company TD Ameritrade. It’s the money of a guy who thinks Islam is “a cult and not a religion.’’

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The Ricketts family, owners of the Cubs, poses on the field before the team’s 2010 home opener against the Brewers. From left are Laura, Joe, Marlene, Todd, Tom and Pete.

The Ricketts family, owner of the Cubs, poses on the field before the team’s 2010 home opener against the Brewers. From left are Laura, Joe, Marlene, Todd, Tom and Pete.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

The Ricketts family released a statement Wednesday meant to calm the fears of Chelsea FC fans who might be under the impression that the clan’s patriarch, Joe Ricketts, speaks for his children with his loonisphere views on Islam.

To buy any of this, you have to buy the notion that there’s separation between the billionaire father’s money and the kids’ pockets. There isn’t, and that’s all that really matters. A London PR company hired by the family says that Joe Ricketts isn’t involved in the bid to buy the Premier League soccer team. I take this to mean that if Joe is wearing a new pair of pants, he wasn’t involved in his children using his money to purchase those pants for him.

The Rickettses, owners of the Cubs, are part of a group trying to buy Chelsea and apparently have come to the realization that their bid might be jeopardized by his assertion in a leaked email that “Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy.’’

Chelsea is a neighborhood in London, where 14% of the population is Muslim. Oops! Funny how the past won’t stop pulling at your shirtsleeve. Three years ago, website Splinter leaked emails from Joe Ricketts that revealed he’s a flaming racist. It’s why, years later, his four children are still trying to distance themselves from their father, which is both humorous and impossible.

Let’s review whose money is going into the bid to buy Chelsea FC. It’s not Tom Ricketts’ money or Laura Ricketts’ money or Pete Ricketts’ money or Todd Ricketts’ money.

It’s Joe Ricketts’ money, which he amassed through his company TD Ameritrade. It’s the money of a guy who thinks Islam is “a cult and not a religion.’’

So it doesn’t matter a whit that his children don’t seem to share his crazy-town ideas.

“Our family rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms,” the Ricketts family said in a statement. “Racism and Islamophobia have no place whatsoever in our society.

“We have developed deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago, as well as with all communities of color.”

Translated, this means that when there was a massive backlash against Joe Ricketts’ worldview in 2019, the Cubs reached out to Muslim groups in an attempt at damage control. That age-old strategy is in the public-relations playbook. I think it has a whole chapter.

Most Cubs fans wouldn’t know Joe Ricketts if he walked past them at Wrigley Field, but many were horrified by his opinion of a faith shared by almost two billion people around the world. And no “deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago’’ has changed that.

What might — might — begin to make a difference is hearing Joe Ricketts attempt to explain himself in person to Chelsea fans. Has he changed his mind on Islam? If so, in what tangible ways? If he hasn’t, then he should man up and not hide behind his silence. Alas, it again will be left to Tom Ricketts, the Cubs chairman, to do the explaining. According to the Associated Press, he is scheduled to talk about the bid with Chelsea fans this week in London. #NoToRicketts has been trending on Twitter.

We can argue all day about the fairness of a website outing someone’s personal emails, but it’s a moot point. Joe Ricketts’ thoughts now permanently reside in the light of day. The leaked emails revealed that he shared a “birther’’ conspiracy video about former President Barack Obama. He also forwarded an email that asserted Obama had been a sex worker in Pakistan and earned money as a heroin smuggler.

His children say they abhor that kind of thinking, but buying an MLB team or an EPL club takes money. Daddy is the one with the big pile of cash, a pile of cash that went into funding the purchase of the Cubs in 2009. It’s the same pile of cash that will always be the basis for whatever his children want to do in life.

Kind of hard to distance yourself from that, but the Ricketts kids trudge on regardless. I don’t think they grasp what an impediment their father’s beliefs are, especially in England, where there are 3.2 million Muslims. It takes as much gall as money to make a bid for a beloved soccer team with that kind of past hanging over your head.

Chelsea’s first Black player, Paul Canoville, recently tweeted, “a big fat anti racism NO to the Ricketts bid.”

That’s what the family is up against. As it should be.

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