#NoToRicketts: Cubs owners on the defensive as Chelsea fans oppose takeover bid
Chelsea fans had #NoToRicketts trending on Twitter, with supporters raising concerns with the club and online.
Family patriarch Joe Ricketts faced a huge backlash in 2019, after a string of Islamophobic emails were leaked.
But the Ricketts family have now moved to insist they do not accept any kind of racism or hatred, in a bid to prove their suitability to take over Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.
Joe Ricketts is not involved in the Ricketts family bid, with the candidacy led by his son Tom, the Chicago Cubs chairman.
"Our family rejects any form of hate in the strongest possible terms," the Ricketts family said.
"Racism and Islamophobia have no place whatsoever in our society."
"We have developed deep and abiding partnerships with the Muslim community in Chicago, as well as with all communities of color."
"Respect for diversity and inclusion are central to our family’s values. If we prevail in our bid for Chelsea, we commit to the club and to the fans that we will actively promote these values."
"A big fat anti-racism no to the Ricketts"
Joe Ricketts described Muslims as "my enemy" in an email exchange three years ago.
Ricketts Senior later apologized for the comments, while Tom distanced himself from his father.
"I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails," said Joe Ricketts.
"Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I’ve said things that don’t reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong."
Tom Ricketts insisted at the time, separately: "My father is not involved with the operation of the Chicago Cubs in any way."
The Premier League club’s supporters have expressed concerns on the Ricketts’ bid to Chelsea officials, while the Blues’ first black player Paul Canoville was forthright on social media.
The anti-racism campaigner tweeted: "I’ve seen and heard enough, I’m saying a big fat anti-racism no to the Ricketts bid."
The Ricketts family will hope their statement can allay some fears, but the Chelsea suitors are aiming to fly to London soon to speak with supporters and further explain their vision for the club.
The Ricketts’ believe their experience of renovating the Cubs’ Wrigley field, as well as already running a successful global sports franchise, puts them in a unique position among the Chelsea suitors.
Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine. He cannot profit from the Premier League club's sale, but had already pledged to write off £1.5 billion ($2 billion) debt.
Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/ ZUMA Wire & PA Images