MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins removed a statue of former owner Calvin Griffith at Target Field, citing his racist remarks in 1978 and saying the team could no longer “remain silent.”
Griffith’s statue was one of several installed when the team opened the ballpark in 2010. Its removal came on Juneteenth, the traditional commemoration of emancipation of enslaved African Americans, and on the same day as a statue of a former Washington Redskins owner was removed from outside the team’s old RFK Stadium.
“While we acknowledge the prominent role Calvin Griffith played in our history, we cannot remain silent and continue ignoring the racist comments he made in Waseca in 1978,” the Twins said in a statement Friday. “His disparaging words displayed a blatant intolerance and disregard for the black community that are the antithesis of what the Minnesota Twins stand for and value.”
Griffith moved the Washington Senators to Minnesota for the 1961 season, and the franchise was renamed the Twins.
During a speech in Minnesota to a Waseca Lions club in 1978, he said he decided to make the move “when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here,”
“Our decision to memorialize Calvin Griffith with a statue reflects an ignorance on our part of systemic racism present in 1978, 2010 and today,” the Twins said. “We apologize for our failure to adequately recognize how the statue was viewed and the pain it caused for many people – both inside the Twins organization and across