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Twins remove Calvin Griffith statue from Target Field

Griffith said he moved the Twins to Minnesota because it doesn't have very many Black people.

The Minnesota Twins have removed the statue of its former owner from outside Target Field.

The statue of Calvin Griffith, who brought the Twins to Minnesota in 1961, was removed Friday morning from its location near the club store.

The move came on Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the ending of slavery.

"While we acknowledge the prominent role Calvin Griffith played in our history, we cannot remain silent and continue ignoring the racist comments he made in Waseca in 1978," the Twins said in a statement

Those comments, according to NBC Sports, were: 

“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when I found out you only had 15,000 Blacks here. Black people don’t go to ball games, but they’ll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. It’s unbelievable. We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking, white people here.”

The Twins said when they were building Target Field in 2010, they wanted to pay tribute to the history of the Twins, which included a statue of Griffith, but the team acknowledges that "reflects an ignorance on our part of systemic racism present in 1978, 2010 and today." 

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"We apologize for our failure to adequately recognize how the statue was viewed and the pain it caused for many people – both inside the Twins organization and across Twins Territory," the Twins said. 

"We cannot remove Calvin Griffith from the history of the Minnesota Twins, but we believe removal of the statue is an important and necessary step in our ongoing commitment to provide a Target Field experience where every fan and employee feels safe and welcome," the team added. 

The Twins decision to remove the statue comes in the wake of George Floyd's death by Minneapolis police on May 25 and ongoing calls for change across the globe to end systemic racism, which has led to moves to reform police and symbols of racism being pulled down by protesters, such as the Christopher Columbus statue at the Minnesota State Capitol.

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