Kansas City Royals pitcher Bruce Chen found himself on the wrong end of a crude and racist gesture on Saturday night as teammate and catcher Humberto Quintero approached him during an interview and made the “slanted eyes” action behind his back.
Chen, a native Panamanian of Chinese descent, was just starting to chat with Fox’s Kenny Albert and Tom Verducci in the bottom of the fourth inning in Pittsburgh when Quintero, a native of Venezuela, approached from behind and made the gesture. Quintero then made the far more acceptable “moose ears” as teammate Jarrod Dyson jokingly showered Chen with sunflower seeds.
Chen told the Kansas City Star on Sunday that he was not offended by Quintero’s move:
“I’m not offended at all,” Chen insisted. “I’m proud of my heritage and being Asian. I really like the way my eyes look. It makes me look sexy. It’s just joking around. I’m definitely not offended, and I hope other people don’t get offended.
“I don’t think, by any means, was he trying to put my race down. He was doing it to me, and I like the way my eyes look.”
Chen is one of the most likable and friendliest players in the game, so it’s not hard to believe he responded to Quintero with his usual good nature. It’s also admittedly impossible to believe that a grinning fool like Quintero made the move with any hate or malice in his mind.
Still, at 32 years old, Quintero has to know better. The “slanted eyes” move is one of the more offensive signals you can make and you’ll remember that Spain’s national basketball team started an international controversy when they showed up in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics and…