Civil rights leaders call for boycott of San Francisco Giants

Bay City News
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
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The President of the San Francisco NAACP, Amos Brown demanded that Johnson request his check be returned to him.

SAN FRANCISCO -- While momentum builds behind a boycott of the San Francisco Giants, driven by revelations that an owner donated to racist political campaigns, team officials said "abhorrent" racist views have no place in the team's core vision.

Bay Area civil rights leaders held a news conference to renew calls for a boycott of the Giants, criticizing team owner Charles Johnson's donations to the campaign of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Mississippi who has made racist statements.

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Johnson has also given money, public filings show, to a political action committee behind a racist radio advertisement in Arkansas that falsely claimed Democrats could bring lynchings back if black voters don't support Republicans.

The Rev. Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People joined by civil rights attorney John Burris and leaders of other NAACP branches at a noon news conference Monday at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco.

Burris said today that he was a lifelong Giants fan but will never attend another game as long as Johnson is associated with the team.

"Charles Johnson's financial support is an affront to all the African American families that have been victims of Mississippi's historical legacy of voter suppression, physical violence, intimidation, racial and ethnic discrimination, among its other atrocities," Burris said.

Giants president Larry Baer issued a statement today distancing the team from the racist campaigns.

"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."

Baer said the Giants have 30 owners, with different backgrounds and 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 said.

The owners may span the political spectrum but share a core belief "that sports has the power to inspire and galvanize a community," he said.

Earlier this month, a video from a public event showed Republican Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi joking that she would sit in the front row if she were invited to a public hanging. Then another video surfaced showing Hyde-Smith, a Trump ally, saying that making voting more difficult is a "great idea."

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Civil rights activist Harry Edwards posted on Twitter over the weekend that he would join the call for a boycott of Giants games until Johnson explains his financial support for "segregationist advocates" of public hangings.

A professor emeritus of sociology at University of California at Berkeley, Edwards is a sociologist whose has been an advocate for African American athletes and black participation in professional sports management.

He has served as a staff consultant to the San Francisco 49ers and the Golden State Warriors.