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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon insists he meant no harm or ill will toward his Pennsylvania hometown when he said the people of Hazleton have to be accepting of the city's Hispanic population.
Maddon has no plans to apologize because he sees no need, even though some back home feel he spoke out of turn and should say sorry. Maddon helped open a community center in Hazleton welcome to anyone.
"Obviously it's based on the fact that I mentioned the word die in my commentary and all I meant was and I'm really surprised that more people didn't understand that was that as we continue to move forward I'm really encouraging the people back home to become part of this positive movement," Maddon said before Tuesday night's game at San Francisco. "And understanding that if you choose not to it's still going to change anyway even when you're gone. That's all I meant by that. That's it. So I have nothing to apologize for, there's no ill intent."
He is committed to working to bring the community back together despite the tense relations in a town that for so long had been primarily white.
"Because they're going to save our town," Maddon said of the Hispanic population during an interview with NBC News correspondent Harry Smith on "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly." ''You have two options right here: Either you get on board and help us or you're going to die. And when you die and go away, you're going to get out of the way, you're not going to be a part of the problem anymore. So it's either help or die."
An editorial in the Times Leader in northeastern Pennsylvania called for Maddon to apologize the wake of his comments.
Maddon said he will continue to show his support for a place he still holds so dear to his heart.
"I don't wish poorly on any human being and actually I wish exactly the opposite," Maddon said Tuesday. "So I would hope that the folks back home — I really believe it's a small percentage and of course the small percentage always gets the platform — but I would hope that they would understand that all I'm talking about there is please jump on board and become part of this positive situation that's going to change their hometown for the better and accept these people that have come to their hometown actually to save it. Because without the Hispanic influx that we've had in our hometown, our hometown would pretty much have wasted away."
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