ESPN: Sutcliffe Should Have Handled Cabrera Deportation Topic “More Carefully”

This afternoon ESPN got back to Latino Rebels with an official response regarding comments made by employee Rick Sutcliffe, an ESPN baseball analyst and former Chicago Cub who suggested on ESPN radio Monday that San Francisco Giant outfielder Melky Cabrera should be deported and have his visa revoked for taking a performance-enhancing drug that violated the policy of Major League Baseball.

In an email sent to us this afternoon, the network said the following:

It is a sensitive topic that should’ve been handled more carefully. We have discussed that with Rick.

There was no indication in the email whether Sutcliffe will apologize for his remarks or whether the network had disciplined or will discipline Sutcliffe. The Rebels broke the story about Sutcliffe's deportation comments Monday afternoon and within hours, the story got picked up by several Internet and national outlets. Here is the clip of what Sutcliffe said:

Sutcliffe’s Comments to Deport Melky Cabrera Go National and Viral

Yesterday afternoon, Latino Rebels published a story chronicling ESPN's Rick Sutcliffe and the comments he made on New York radio Monday regarding San Francisco Giants OF Melky Cabrera and Cabrera's recent 50-game suspension from baseball for using testosterone, a banned substance. Sutcliffe believed that because of what Cabrera did (including his people creating a fake website to hide Cabrera's actions) deserved an immediate removal of Cabrera's work visa and instant deportation back to the Dominican Republic.

This is the audio that we posted on YouTube.

This is what Sutcliffe said: 

"First of all, this guy is over here in the United States on a working visa. He broke the law. What's he doing still here? I mean, forget the 50-game suspension from baseball and whether he can come back if they make the players or not. Why's he still here? That visa should be taken away, and he should not be allowed to play over here again, or work over here again, in my opinion."

Today, the story went viral, with posts being published on Deadspin, the HuffPost, USA Today, Bleacher Report and more than 700 other links. Overall, the reaction to Sutcliffe's comments have been generally negative, saying that the former Chicago Cub star showed his nativist ignorance on the air. Even when one outlet tried to add more context to Sutcliffe's claims that Cabrera had indeed broken the law and had to leave the country immediately the consensus was that Sutcliffe really should just stick to baseball talk and leave the legal talk to people who know what they are talking about, because in the end Cabrera has not been charged or convicted:

An athlete’s visa could get revoked if the offense results in a crime, not simply a violation of the league, said Jon Velie, an Oklahoma attorney who specializes in sports-immigration visas.

For instance, if an athlete tests positive for cocaine, which is also used in performance enhancement, he would likely lose his right to work here.

“Crimes of moral turpitude are grounds for deportation,” Velie said. Such crimes include shoplifting, obtaining stolen goods, and assault, as well as fraud, adultery, bigamy, kidnapping, rape, prostitution, voluntary manslaughter, and murder, he said.

But what is a misdemeanor offense in a state court can be an aggravated felony in an immigration court, Velie said. “Any conviction that has a term, not just jail time, for more than one year is considered a felony, even if called a misdemeanor,” he said.

Yes, so Cabrera (who really screwed up), COULD get deported IF he is found guilty of a "crime of moral turpitude," but so far he has not been arrested nor convicted, so why does Sutcliffe want Cabrera deported?

In addition, what Velie fails to mention is that in 2009 Miguel Tejada, who is also from the Dominican Republic, pleaded guilty in court for lying to Congress and we didn't see an ICE truck back up and ship him back to Santo Domingo.

In the meantime, comments about Sutcliffe posted on our YouTube page pretty much agree that Sutcliffe went a bit too far in his assessment of Cabrera's violation of MLB policy. Here is just one of the many comments we are getting about what Sutcliffe said:

What about you Rick and your embarrassing drunk show on Channel 4 San Diego, and then driving drunk back home, you think this isn't worse? Seriously I don't even know how you've been allowed to return to the media, you should be banned for life. But since you are a former MLB player, white, christian and american we must forgive that you're a fucking alcoholic and move on to condemn and deport a foreigner MLB player in his first steroid offense regardless of what MLB's policy says. SMH!

We did contact ESPN's Communications Department twice today and left two messages asking for comment from either ESPN or Sutcliffe. They have not returned our calls. If we do get a response from ESPN, we will provide updates. UPDATE, August 22, 2012, 5:46 PM EST: ESPN sent us the following in an email about Sutcliffe's remarks: "It is a sensitive topic that should’ve been handled more carefully. We have discussed that with Rick."

H/T to @Wolfman_13 for sending us the tip about Sutcliffe's comments.

We Know Melky Cabrera Screwed Up, and ESPN’s Rick Sutcliffe Now Wants to Deport Him

UPDATE, August 22, 2012, 5:46 PM EST: ESPN sent us the following in an email about Sutcliffe's remarks: "It is a sensitive topic that should’ve been handled more carefully. We have discussed that with Rick."

Yes, we know that San Francisco OF and All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera screwed up and cheated. Yes, we know that he admitted to using testosterone, that his advisers tried to hide this truth by creating a fake website, and that as a result, Cabrera is now serving a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball. We also know that Cabrera has lost the support of many baseball players and fans, just like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramírez, Miguel Tejada, and so many other players who lost support when their names were connected to performance-enhancing drugs.

However, there is outrage against Cabrera's acts and then there is ESPN's Rick Sutcliffe, who went on New York radio today to say that Cabrera's visa should be revoked immediately and that he should be deported. Cabrera was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Here is the audio clip of what Sutcliffe said on ESPN's 98.7 FM. (H/T for @wolfman_13 for letting us know)

Never mind, for example, that when Ramírez was suspended in 2009 for using a banned substance, no one was calling for his arrest. (Ramírez was an American citizen at the time). It was just "Manny being Manny." And what about Tejada, who was actually convicted for lying to Congress in 2009? Did Sutcliffe want him deported, too? Oh yeah, and we don't recall people calling ICE on Sammy Sosa when he was linked to steroids.

According to Sutcliffe, what Cabrera did was so reprehensible (hiding behind a fake website too), he should no longer be allowed in this country. Rick, did you really have to go there? You had to make this an issue about how a foreign-born player now needs to be kicked out of this country because he cheated, just like many other American players (and that means you too, Ryan Braun)? It was strange comment by Sutcliffe. Instead of just sticking to baseball, Sutcliffe felt the need to go all nativist on us. Granted, everyone was celebrating Cabrera when he was having an MVP-like season for the Giants, but now that he screwed up and he admitted that he screwed up, ship him back to the DR! He has stained the good name of baseball! Damn foreigner!

Memo to Sutcliffe: baseball has been stained way before Cabrera got caught last week. MLB policy is clear: you get caught and you get suspended for 50 games. No arrests and no deportations required. Thank you, Rick, for going there, for feeding into the paranoia that Cabrera's foreignness stained the game. Forget the fact that without a steady flow of Dominican, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, and other Latino players, baseball today would be an irrelevant sport.

Yes, Cabrera cheated. He is also paying the price. But we guess that isn't enough for Sutcliffe because according to him, now that Cabrera can't play baseball and serves no purpose, he needs to get his ass back to the DR and stay there. America's pastime is not a place for cheaters. At least not a place for foreign cheaters. Americans like Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bonds, and others who have been caught are still cool. Just ship the Latino cheaters home. Because in the world of Rick Sutcliffe, you are guilty until you are proven guilty. Last time we checked, that is just so un-American.

PS For those of you who say we took Sutcliffe's comments out of context, here is the whole interview.