- The MLB made the maximum contribution allowed under law to a Mississippi Republican candidate for U.S. Senate after she made a series of racially insensitive comments, including joking about attending a public hanging.
- According to ESPN, the organisation asked for the return of its $US5,000 donation in light of public outcry over the move.
- An MLB spokesperson told ESPN’s Buster Olney that MLB lobbyists donated the money, but the explanation has left much to be desired for fans and critics alike.
Baseball is in the middle of its offseason, but that hasn’t stopped the MLB from making headlines and becoming the center of a controversy.
As first reported by Judd Legum of Popular Information, the MLB made a $US5,000 donation – the maximum contribution allowed under law – to Mississippi Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Cindy Hyde-Smith after she made a series of racially insensitive comments that prompted a public outcry.
"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row"- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith says in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praises her.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff on Nov 27th against Mike Espy. pic.twitter.com/0a9jOEjokr
— Lamar White, Jr. (@LamarWhiteJr) November 11, 2018
According to an FEC report from November 24, the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball PAC made the hefty donation to Hyde-Smith’s campaign on November 23, three weeks after her public hanging remarks.
The backlash from Hyde-Smith’s comments prompted companies like Walmart, Pfizer, and AT&T to withdraw their support for her campaign and request the return of their donations. The MLB announced that it would follow suit Monday morning, but the organisation’s explanation for the initial contribution has raised even more questions.
“The contribution was made in connection with an event that MLB lobbyists were asked to attend,” an MLB spokesperson told ESPN’s Buster Olney Sunday. “MLB has requested that the contribution be returned.”
It wasn’t enough to convince many, and they took to Twitter to express their disapproval:
In MLB’s defense, if your lobbyists get the chance to pay $5K to stand around and eat mini crab cakes in the general vicinity of a junior senator from a state without a franchise who’s most prominently known for doing and saying a bunch of racist stuff, you gotta take that chance
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) November 25, 2018
Important to note: MLB made that donation three weeks AFTER she made that “public hanging” comment and they still didn’t care. https://t.co/Cka0ZazoLz
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) November 26, 2018
MLB got caught. They knew the situation, but were called out.
— Richard Kallenbach (@RichardKbach) November 25, 2018
Did MLB think that Cindy Hyde-Smith, a replacement-level reactionary ghoul with the brain of a sparrow, would somehow vote against the interests of its rich and powerful owners if they didn't give her $5000?
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) November 25, 2018
Cancelled because of MLB contributing to Hyde-Smith, a racist candidate for Senate in Mississippi. Their asking for their money back is a lame and disingenuous attempt to avoid bad PR. pic.twitter.com/2IY3lmiTRr
— Mitchel Lichtman (@mitchellichtman) November 26, 2018
Hyde-Smith faces former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy in a close runoff election November 27. With a win, Espy – who has continually condemned his opponent’s racist comments and actions – would become Mississippi’s first African-American senator since the Reconstruction Era.
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