BY PAUL SULLIVAN
CHICAGO – Major League Baseball is investigating racist messages sent to Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. on his Instagram account, sources said Tuesday.
The Cubs denounced the messages, which were first reported by The Athletic.
“We were shocked by the racist, profanity-laced social media message sent to Carl Edwards Jr. earlier this month,” President Theo Epstein said in a statement from the Cubs. “We vehemently condemn the content of the message and are supporting Major League Baseball’s investigation to identify the person responsible.
“In a sport that celebrates diversity and unites people from all backgrounds, we are appalled anyone claiming to be a fan would send divisive and bigoted insults to a player. Whether spoken, posted or published, this type of reprehensible language and views cannot be tolerated in our game or society.”
Manager Joe Maddon told WSCR-AM 670 that “99.9 percent” of Cubs fans support Edwards, attributing the abuse to “a couple loudmouths” looking for a reaction.
Edwards currently is pitching in Triple-A Iowa after struggling early in the season and being demoted.
In an interview with Tribune reporter Mark Gonzales on April 5, the day before his demotion, Edwards alluded to the criticism he’d been receiving.
“Everyone wants to put in their input now,” he said. “If we were winning, you’d hear nothing.”
Edwards remained confident in his abilities, saying: “I’m a great baseball player. I’m just going through a rough patch right now. It’s like a storm.”
According to USA Today, there are only 68 African-American players in the majors, or 7.7 percent of the total and 11 teams have no more than one.