The MLB is under fire for donating $5,000 to a US Senate candidate after she joked about attending a public hanging, and their explanation has left more questions

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.

Hyde-Smith came under fire after a video of her joking about attending a public hanging while surrounded by supporters on November 2 went viral.

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:

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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