The Fresno Grizzlies apologized to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after it played a video on its scoreboard that included a picture of the New York congresswoman among “enemies of freedom.”
The minor-league baseball team posted on Twitter late Monday that the video, based on a Memorial Day speech by President Ronald Reagan, was “a pre-produced video from outside our front office” and that it contained “some misleading and offensive editing.”
“We’re embarrassed we allowed this video to play without seeing it in its entirety first,” the team said.
— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) May 28, 2019
About an hour later, the Grizzlies sent another tweet that said “we unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in addition to our fans, community and those we hurt. It was a mistake and we will ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.”
The video, shown between games of a double-header against the El Paso Chihuahuas, was lifted by a Grizzlies staff member from a third-party YouTube account, Grizzlies president Derek Franks said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “This was taken off the internet. Borrowed, if you will,” Franks said.
On the video, when Reagan cites “enemies of freedom” in the speech, the video shows images of Ocasio-Cortez, North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un, and the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
People at the game, including Fresno Bee reporter Carmen George, reacted to the video.
I was just watching a really moving #MemorialDay tribute video at the @FresnoGrizzlies game until they got to a part about America’s adversaries and showed a photo of the @AOC between images of Fidel Castro and Kim Jong-un. That was some seriously offensive editing.
— Carmen George (@CarmenGeorge) May 28, 2019
Images of anti-fascist, alt-left protesters, along with what appears to be pictures from President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, also appear in the video.
Franks said the staff member who found and used the video was “remorseful.” He said the matter was being handled internally.
“We didn’t take the full steps to make sure that video was the right content for the ballclub,” Franks said.
To those who went on social media to contend the Grizzlies showed the politically charged video intentionally, Franks said in response: “Had this been intentional, we would have owned it, the same way we have owned that it was a mistake and that we didn’t do our job vetting the content.”
Here is the video:
The Grizzlies, a team in the Pacific Coast League, is the Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.
Grizzlies Apologize on Wednesday as Well
Regarding Monday’s incident: https://t.co/161YIkw4z8
— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) May 29, 2019