Doug Sovern/KCBS Radio

Boycott Of Giants Continues After Owner Takes Back Donation To Divisive Republican

Doug Sovern
November 28, 2018 - 10:17 am

The San Francisco Giants principal owner, Charles Johnson and his wife have sought to get back their donations to controversial Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, but the move wasn't enough to placate critics.

Civil rights attorney John Burris and local NAACP leaders are not backing down on their calls for a team boycott. They were incensed that Johnson had contributed to Hyde-Smith's campaign after video emerged showing the Republican express willingness to attend a "public hanging."

Those comments were deemed by critics to be racially insensitive given Mississippi's racial history. There were hundreds of lynching of African-Americans by white mobs from 1882 to 1968, according to the NAACP. Hyde-Smith has since apologized for the remarks. 

In a statement released by his attorney, Johnson said he was unaware of the video when he made the donation,

“Mr. Johnson has a history of making these contributions to far-right groups," said Burris. “Ignorance, to me, is not an excuse when you run an empire where people are bringing information to you, and checks for you to sign. You obviously have to know something.”

Attorney Joe Cotchett told reporters that Johnson has asked Hyde-Smith to refund the $5,400 that he and his wife contributed. 

“I view that as a good gesture," said Burris. “It was the kind of thing that he should have done at the very beginning, and or should not have made the contribution at all.”

Johnson is expected to meet with members of the NAACP on Thursday. 

Giants President and CEO Larry Baer had previously distanced the rest of the organization from Johnson amidst the furor over his personal politics. 

"In no way does the Giants organization condone any racist and hateful language and behavior by anyone. It is abhorrent and in direct conflict with the core values of the San Francisco Giants," said Baer in a statement. "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."

Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy on Tuesday in a runoff election.