The White Sox apologized for including a photo of civil rights icon Emmett Till, who was lynched in 1955 in Mississippi, during a scoreboard segment about Chicago celebrities that appeared during Saturday's game.
Till's photo appeared between "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak and actor and director Orson Welles during a segment highlighting "Other famous people from Chicagoland" during the White Sox–Twins game on June 29. White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert told the Chicago Tribune Sunday that Till's inclusion was "a mistake" and called it "poor form."
"It was done as a list of famous and iconic Chicagoans, so the person who did it [a member of the scoreboard staff] felt like Emmett Till is an iconic face of the civil rights movement in Chicago," Reifert said, according to the Tribune. “I pointed out that, probably in retrospect, it’s poor form. We talked about it. He regretted it. Certainly, he admitted it was a mistake. The intent certainly wasn’t to insult anybody, not Emmett Till by any means. It was, in a sense, famous Chicagoans.”
He added that “there was no ill will meant by any of it" and said the staffer responsible "understood and apologized.”
Till was visiting family in Mississippi when he was murdered in August 1955 at age 14, after he was accused of whistling at a white woman. The lynching became a pivotal moment during the Civil Rights movement.
Reifert called the scoreboard staffer's decision to include Till between two entertainers an “an honest mistake” after speaking with him.
“The other point I made with him was, next to Pat Sajak, kind of minimalizes (this) is a young man that lost his life and certainly has become an icon of the civil rights movement, but for not good reasons," Reifer said, according to the Tribune. "He got it.”