The Chicago Cubs keeping a vulgar message aimed at LeBron James as part of their stadium decor is a bad look for the club.
The “Friendly Confines aren’t so friendly for LeBron James.
In 2016, just after the Cubs clinched a spot in the World Series, FanSided published a story about how some Cubs fans had descended on Wrigley Field and left chalk graffiti messages to the team on the brick walls outside the stadium.
Once the trend caught on with fans, it continued throughout the World Series and for weeks following the Cubs’ victory. Most of the messages were heartwarming tributes from long-time Cubs fans, urging the team on, and congratulating them. Many people just wrote their own names or the names of loved ones. It was a tremendous celebration of fandom and one can easily see why the Cubs would want to find a way to save the messages before the rains washed them away.
On February 20th of this year, the Cubs held an event for fans called the “2020 Ticket Premiere.” It was a free event that the Cubs treated like a movie premiere. There was a spotlight outside Wrigley Field and fans were able to go up to the ticket window under the marquee where they were given a “ticket” that gained them admission into the event, which was held under the stadium. Fans were able to meet former Cub, Mark Grace, were allowed to take pictures in the Cubs’ dugout and even got a peek inside the locker room. Just down the hall from the Cubs clubhouse, the walls are covered with a sort of wallpaper that has a photo of the graffiti-covered walls outside the stadium from 2016.
A source who attended the event shared photos they took with FanSided.
If you look a little closer, however, just to the right of the person on the left side of the photo, you can see something…errr…not so nice written about LeBron James. Let’s zoom in.
Yikes. If you are wondering if the Cubs just accidentally overlooked this particular text on the mural, they didn’t. The Chicago Tribune actually covered this back in 2017 and reported that Cubs management knew about the LeBron text.
Most of the Cubs don’t even know the “(Bleep) LeBron” message exists because they don’t use that hallway to get in and out of the clubhouse. Cubs’ management knew it was there, but decided to use it anyway instead of Photoshopping the message out, figuring it was part of the 2016 season’s history and didn’t need to be censored.
James wasn’t exactly the most popular guy in Chicago in 2016. The Northeast Ohio native was rooting against the Cubs and for the Indians during the World Series. James’ Cleveland Cavaliers had also knocked the Chicago Bulls out of the playoffs in 2015. It makes sense that some fan would want to take a shot at him on the graffiti wall, even if the actions were a bit childish.
Fans are gonna fan but the team’s excuse for leaving the text on the mural is pretty weak.
“(Bleep) LeBron” is part of the history of the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series?”
Give us a break.
More than likely the Cubs were just feeling themselves. Perhaps the team just thought this was a way to take a cheap shot at Cleveland? We guess, you know, actually beating the Indians to win the World Series wasn’t enough? Or maybe the Cubs were just really annoyed at LeBron for flexing during Game 7?
It is beneath a professional baseball team to have something like this hanging in the hallway outside its clubhouse. The team putting it up in the first place was bad but the fact that it is still there four years later is just silly. This is, after all, the team that calls its stadium “The Friendly Confines.” There is nothing friendly about “(Bleep) LeBron” and leaving the text on the mural doesn’t send a great message about the values of the Cubs organization to the players, employees, media members, and fans who walk by it.
We also don’t buy the “art is art” excuse mentioned in the Tribune article. If some Indians fan had strolled over to Wrigley and written “Go Tribe” or worse, “(Bleep) the Cubs” do you think management would have left that on the mural? What if an angry Bears fan wrote “(Bleep) Jay Cutler?”
While LeBron himself probably doesn’t know or care about the mural, it is a bad look for the Cubs and will probably continue to look worse the longer they leave it up. Nearly all of the messages left outside Wrigley were happy, positive, and encouraging and a great deal of them featured the names of lost loved ones. Those were all certainly messages worth preserving but leaving the unnecessary nastiness scribed by one person flies in the face of what made the mural special in the first place.