The 27-year-old reliever was demoted to the minors after early season struggles.

By Emily Caron
April 16, 2019

The Cubs are investigating racist messages sent to reliever Carl Edwards Jr. on social media.

Edwards was demoted to Triple-A Iowa on March 6 but received a "racist, profanity-laced social media message" before the move that ventured into the realm of hate speech. The racist comments were reportedly sent to him on Instagram, as The Athletic first reported.

“We were shocked by the racist, profanity-laced social media message sent to Carl Edwards Jr. earlier this month,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein wrote in a statement. “We vehemently condemn the content of the message and are supporting Major League Baseball’s investigation to identify the person responsible.

He continued: "In a sport that celebrates diversity and unites people from all backgrounds, we are appalled anyone claiming to be a fan would send divisive and bigoted insults to a player. Whether spoken, posted or published, this type of reprehensible language and views cannot be tolerated in our game or society.”

The 27-year-old pitcher received the message while dealing with early-season struggles, which led to his demotion. The MLB, the Cubs and the players' union have all been made aware of the messages.

“We are aware of the situation,” an MLB spokesperson told The Athletic Monday. “We have a team that works with social-media companies to take appropriate actions in situations like this.”

Edwards has a career ERA of 3.36 with 219 strikeouts through 176 innings pitched. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune the day before his demotion, he alluded to the criticism he’d been receiving.

“Everyone wants to put in their input now,” he said. “If we were winning, you’d hear nothing.”

Edwards is one of just 68 African-American players in the majors, which is 7.7% of all MLB players.

“I’ve known C.J. for a long time, and while he has mentioned being upset at social media attacks in the past, the recent incidents are completely beyond normal fan frustration," Edwards' agent, Lee Long, said. "No player should be expected to bear such personal attacks, especially based on the color of their skin. However, C.J. has made a point to mention how grateful he is of the Cubs fans for their support. Furthermore, we are very appreciative of the efforts of the Cubs, MLB and the union in addressing this matter.”

The investigation is still ongoing. While it is unclear what the MLB or the Cubs will do in response, they have precedent to follow for dealing with racist fans. The Utah Jazz permanently banned a fan last month after remarks made toward with Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook.

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