(CBS) Recent comments by Cubs manager Joe Maddon in a national interview about his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. have drawn the ire of some residents there, with an editorial in the local newspaper calling for an apology.
In an interview that aired on NBC News about two weeks ago, Maddon addressed the growing Hispanic population in Hazleton. Maddon has done a great deal to help the immigrant population in his hometown through his Hazleton Integration Project, which built a community center that offers children after-school classes, sports programs, meals and English-as-a-second language instruction, according to the NBC News segment.
The issue is that some of Maddon’s words were viewed as offensive by some members in and around the Hazleton community, according to The Times Leader, a newspaper in nearby Wilkes-Barre.
“They’re going to save our town,” Maddon said of the newcomers to Hazleton, according to The Times Leader. “You have two options right here. Either you get on board and help us as we’re moving this thing along or you’re going to die. And when you die and go away, then you’re going to get out of the way. You’re not going to be part of the problem anymore. So, it’s either help or die.”
The Times-Leader featured an op-ed asking for an apology from Maddon. It read in part:
We believe he’s sounding more and more like a preacher in these national interviews that seem to be aired about his Hazleton work every few months or so.
Joe, you are not a social engineer.
You are a baseball manager.
Yes, he deserves applause for his community work, and he’s been on the receiving end of many. But enough is enough with the publicity.
What we need now is to hear from Maddon.
He needs to apologize for insulting the hardworking and fair-minded people of Hazleton — they are many in number, contrary to what the national reports seem to imply. And we want to hear an apology straight from Maddon, not through a spokesperson or a family member. If he has the time to talk to NBC and other outlets, surely he can interrupt this baseball season for a mea culpa to his hometown.
We’re waiting, Joe.
Maddon hasn’t yet addressed the issue publicly. He’s set to meet with the media ahead of Chicago’s game at San Francisco on Tuesday evening.