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Cubs’ Theo Epstein condemns Joe Ricketts’ racist emails

Chicago Cubs' President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein talks with the media during the team's annual convention Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, in Chicago. | Matt Marton/Associated Press

Team president Theo Epstein on Tuesday condemned Cubs ownership patriarch and TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts for his racist emails, calling them “upsetting.”

Epstein acknowledged that Ricketts’ emails, which were revealed by the website SplinterNews.com last week, were filled with “ugly, disgusting views” that don’t represent the Cubs’ beliefs.

“The emails were upsetting to read and especially upsetting that some of our fans were put into a position where they had to consider a connection of their favorite team and some of those views,” Epstein told reporters in Mesa, Arizona.

Epstein promised “action” to embrace diversity.

“Diversity is important everywhere,” said Epstein, who also vowed that the team’s actions will speak louder than words. “Not just because it’s the right thing to do. Also because it helps you win.”

Many Cubs fans, especially those who are Muslim, felt betrayed and hurt after Ricketts’ leaked emails revealed racist jokes and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Team chairman Tom Ricketts made a step in amending the Cubs’ relationship with the Muslim community last week after he met with the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The local Muslim group said the Cubs promised to follow “concrete steps” to make things right.

Major League Baseball said it was aware of Ricketts’ comments, which it called “extremely offensive and completely at odds with the values and principles” of the game.

Shortly after the emails were made public, Ricketts said he deeply regretted them and apologized ‘‘for some of the exchanges.’’ Tom Ricketts tried to distance the team from his father, who approved the cash portion of the family’s leveraged $845 million purchase of the Cubs in 2009.

Cubs pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in Mesa, Arizona, on Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.