Baseball / MLB

Cubs' Yu Darvish feels virus rhetoric behind rise in anti-Asian discrimination in U.S.

KYODO

Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish expressed concern Friday about the rising incidence of anti-Asian discrimination in the United States amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a YouTube video, the 33-year-old from Osaka Prefecture spoke of the fear felt by many Asians in the United States, where reports of increased racial harassment have spread along with the pneumonia-causing virus, whose first major outbreak was recorded in Wuhan, China.

“There was a little racial discrimination before this against Asians in America and of course against blacks as well, but since Trump called it the ‘Chinese Virus’ I feel it’s increased,” said Darvish, whose YouTube channel has some 478,000 subscribers.

“American society has a gun culture, and people have begun buying more and more. Right now it’s not an issue but thinking about how it could get a year or two down the road if there is a shortage of food and people are out of work, that’s scary.”

Though Major League Baseball remains on indefinite hiatus due to the health crisis, Darvish said he would remain stateside to continue practicing in Arizona, where the Cubs had been holding their camp before suspending training.

“It’s an opportunity to work on technique, as well as physical conditioning,” said the right-hander, who visited a hospital in early March following fears he may have contracted the coronavirus.

Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein later said doctors believed it had been “just a daily illness.”

Darvish’s video follows recent comments from New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka about anxiety among Asians in the United States, where not only President Donald Trump but members of his administration have repeatedly made a point of blaming China for America’s current health crisis.

“There are events other than the virus making people feel in danger,” said Tanaka, who returned with his family to Japan earlier in the week.

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