What are you to do if you're a fan of the Chicago Cubs but the team's owners include a guy who's leading the effort to reelect the most divisive, destructive and incompetent president in modern American history?
We'd say there's always the White Sox.
In all seriousness, we can think of reasons to remain a loyal Cubs fan despite that among the team's owners is Todd Ricketts, finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Ricketts is spearheading the fundraising effort for President Donald Trump's re-election.
- The Ricketts family as a whole has done a good job of running the Cubs, even if they didn't do enough to build up the bullpen last year. It's been awhile since anybody has called them "lovable losers.''
- The Cubs as an organization has been a responsible corporate citizen. The company has spent about $1 billion of its own money on renovating Wrigley Field, one of Chicago's most prized landmarks, and it made a particular effort to hire minority- and women-owned businesses when constructing Hotel Zachary next door. Ninety million dollars in contracts went to Minority Business Enterprise certified businesses.
Cubs President Theo Epstein, speaking for the team, has been saying all the right things, too, in the wake of the protests over the killing in Minnesota of George Floyd. The Cubs will form a "diversity committee,'' he said, to improve on issues such as hiring and promoting. Epstein is involved in helping Major League Baseball donate money to groups like Black Lives Matter and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
And, for every Todd Ricketts - or the equally politically noxious patriarch of the family, Joe Ricketts - there's a Laura Ricketts, a Joe Biden supporter who fights for the rights of gay and transgender people, or a Tom Ricketts, who does his darn best to keep his politics to himself and just wants to have a beer with you at Murphy's Bleachers.
But... all things are not equal. Todd Ricketts is doing a world of bad, working day and night for the reelection of a fraud who's destroying our country. That great bad is hardly cancelled out by the more honorable ways of his siblings and the Cubs organization.
If it bothers you that a little bit of the money you spend to buy a ticket to a Cubs game eventually makes its way into Todd Ricketts' pocket, and that from there a little bit makes its way into Trump's re-election fund, well, it bothers us, too.
American consumers increasingly care about the social values and commitments of the businesses they patronize, and so they should. As long as Todd Ricketts is among the owners of the Cubs, plenty of fans - or ex-fans - will wonder what they are really rooting for.
Chicago Sun-Times, June 12