Chicago Muslim community leader urges Chelsea fans to give Ricketts a chance
Leaders of Chicago’s Muslim community have urged Chelsea fans to reject cancel culture and embrace “decent man” Tom Ricketts and his offer to buy the Blues.
Chicago Cubs owners, the Ricketts family, are among the contenders stuck in the bidding process to succeed Roman Abramovich as Chelsea owner.
Family patriarch Joe Ricketts was accused of Islamophobia in 2019, calling Muslims “my enemy” in leaked emails.
Chelsea fans have been voicing their concerns via the social media hashtag ‘NoToRicketts’, while raising issues with the club, despite Joe Ricketts having no role at the Cubs or in the Blues’ bid to buy.
Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has hailed Tom Ricketts’ response to the 2019 scandal and has now urged Chelsea supporters not to write off the Cubs owner’s candidacy.
Rehab explained how he met with the Cubs hierarchy following those leaked emails in 2019, and the steps Chicago baseball team leaders have taken since to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and of inclusion.
“We became aware, like everyone else, of Joe Ricketts, the father, who was making some pretty problematic anti-Muslim statements,” Rehab told the newspaper. PA News Agency.
“We were very offended and immediately contacted the Cubs at the time, Tom Ricketts and Julian Green, and they both responded.
“They came to my office here in downtown Chicago and we brought other Muslim organizations to the table for this meeting.
“We have been very clear and very stern in our rebuke of Joe Ricketts and his statements, and the association with the Cubs.
“They distanced themselves, they apologized for the remarks, we went back and forth and we put in place concrete measures to show in action both the Cubs and the Ricketts family a real position on diversity. and inclusion.
“I’m not going to buy into this fad in the world of undoing and destroying on one mistake. If we persist without regret on a mistake and we double the bet, that’s another story.
“But if you’re someone who made a mistake, and in that case it wasn’t even Tom; it was problematic, but to be fair, it was a step forward.
“And then for that person to do whatever they can, do whatever it takes. We had expectations of what the right things would be and that’s what they did.”
An avid Manchester United fan who was brought up partly at Salford, Rehab has revealed his weariness of continued criticism from Tom Ricketts on an issue where he believes the Cubs owners have taken real steps forward.
The Ricketts released a statement on Wednesday rejecting all hate “in the strongest possible terms,” with Rehab trying to highlight the family’s progress over the past three years.
“America is riven by division and dead in the wool sides that can’t talk to each other, can’t reach the aisle and can’t see each other’s decency,” Rehab said.
“And it’s so polarized that I think it hurts America and I see it in the world as well.
“So the reason I’m speaking out, and this is my initiative, is because of my personal values. I’m sick of seeing this, I think it’s unfair.
“It’s okay if they don’t want the Ricketts family for any sporting reason, but it’s not okay to use my name or past action to smear that person unfairly. And I will speak and not say in my name.
“He’s a good man, I’ve dealt with him, Julian and the Cubs team. They’re honest people, they love the sport, they’re there for sporting reasons, they would be inclusive, they would embrace the diversity.
“I only saw positive signs once I started dealing with them. I saw the attacks and I can’t stand it. For those interested in truth and fairness, this is simply not fair.
“I see Tom Ricketts in the community here in Chicago, over there, interacting. I love that accessibility, and I think any fan would.
“I think the Ricketts family with the Cubs is sincere about their desire for diversity and inclusion. And I think they would do a good job owning a club like Chelsea.”
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