SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The San Francisco Giants attempted to distance themselves Monday from a donation by one of the team’s 30 owners to controversial Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Principal owner Charles Johnson’s donation has led several San Francisco civil rights leaders to call on fans to boycott the National League club. Giants President & CEO Larry Baer released a statement, hoping to calm the waters.
“In no way does the Giants organization condone any racist and hateful language and behavior by anyone,” Baer’s statement read. “It is abhorrent and in direct conflict with the core values of the San Francisco Giants.”
“The Giants have more than 30 owners,” the statement continued. “Just like our fans, they come from different backgrounds and have their own political views. Many give to Democratic causes, many to Republican causes and some refrain from politics altogether. Neither I nor anyone else at the Giants can control who any of our owners support politically, just as we cannot and should not control whom any of our employees support politically.”
Baer also pointed out the positive impact the Giants have had on San Francisco’s diverse culture.
“We take seriously the platform we have to make an impact on our community, and for decades we have used it to advocate for social justice and equality, inclusiveness and tolerance in our communities,” the statement pointed out.”
Johnson, who lives in Florida, had previously apologized a few months ago after supporting a Republican Super PAC which was proven to be making racist radio ads. At the time, Johnson said he didn’t realize that’s what the group was doing.
John Burris, a civil rights attorney, says he is a huge fan, but that it’s time for Giants fans to withdraw their support for the Johnson and team amid the controversy.
On Monday, Burris was joined by legendary civil rights leader Rev. Amos Brown and other officials from branches of the NAACP to call for a boycott.
“I would encourage everyone who has social conscience about the condition that exists in this country to boycott the Giants as long as this person is a principal owner,” said Burris.