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Should Fresno Grizzlies have apologized for Ocasio-Cortez video? Here’s what people are saying

A baseball team, patriotism, Ocasio-Cortez and an apology: Here’s what happened

The Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team played a Memorial Day video on its scoreboard May 27, 2019, and later apologized for equating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with Kim Jung-un and Fidel Castro.
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The Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball team played a Memorial Day video on its scoreboard May 27, 2019, and later apologized for equating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with Kim Jung-un and Fidel Castro.

The Fresno Grizzlies apologized for a video played during the team’s Memorial Day game that depicted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez alongside Kim Jong-un and Fidel Castro. But not everyone thinks the team needed to apologize.

Some people on Twitter called the video “accurate,” likening the congresswoman’s ideologies to that of the dictators.

More than 350 readers also commented via the Fresno Bee’s website.

Some said the team shouldn’t have apologized.

“She is a public figure and subject to comments and opinion. The issue here is it’s not the narrative that the left likes so it’s obviously going to get push back and outrage. Frightened businesses want to be pc so they cave. Welcome to the new normal,” wrote reader J. Murray.

Vicki Morrison, of Fresno, said the video wasn’t as bad as others out there.

“It wasn’t nice, but politics is not ‘nice.’ Think (of) how Donald Trump and his family feels every time SNL bashes him and the MSM hates on him every minute of the day,” she said. “The only reason AOC is in Congress is because she won a casting call. AOC has never held an office, not even run a company. Anyone in Fresno could do a better job. She’s not tough enough for politics. She comes off like a joke and that’s why people make jokes about her. I don’t think the Grizzlies should have apologized. Free Speech!! Has AOC seen how the United Spot channel on YouTube portrays her? That’s 10 times worse. “

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Pedro Castillo of Fontana chalked it up to politics: “No apologies are needed. She is a politician who constantly disparages the American way of life.”

Silvia Martinez of Merced said the video was spot on. “The ones supporting AOC are the ones bleeding working Americans so they can sit at home and just collect a check. Those people are un-American and she is crazy!”

Most readers, meanwhile, commented via the Fresno Bee’s website that they agreed with the Grizzlies’ decision to apologize.

Reader Paul Loveland wrote: “They should be fined and put on notice that calling a Congresswoman an enemy of freedom as part of the “entertainment” at a minor league ball game is grounds for terminating the franchise. Does anyone really believe this was a mistake? They really showed a video at a game without ever viewing it? Come on.”

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“It was distasteful, disrespectful and completely inappropriate. I have been a Fresno Grizzly supporter my entire life but no more. I will never buy tickets or attend any event held there,” wrote reader Miguel Lopez.

Frank Imbrogno of Bellingham, Wash., said as a combat veteran, the team “violated the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice defending the ideals of democracy that make our nation great.”

Imbrogno said the video was “shocking,” and to vilify those who resist “what they perceive as a threat” to American ideals and freedoms is “beyond the pale.”

Many said an apology isn’t enough.

“They were right to immediately apologize, and they should have gone farther, praising AOC for calling the nation’s attention to the serious problem of climate change and courageously advocating a realistic response the the crisis, the Green New Deal,” said Ronald J. Martin of Fresno.

“An apology doesn’t go nearly far enough,” said Sara Smith of Hawthorne. “AOC is in favor of the kind of ‘socialism’ that wants to help and promote our society, our people, and it has nothing to do with Castro’s soviet communism or Kim’s absolute dictatorship. Equating the two is a smear, and a lie. The Grizzlies need to post a video apology AND a correction!”

Dawn Donovan of Fresno said incidents like this alienate fans. “Yes. They should retract and investigate. I don’t believe it was in error. Been a Grizzly fan since day one. This kind of stuff alienates people like me. Do the right thing and do more than just apologize. Find another way to make amends with this congresswoman.”

A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez’s office declined to comment on the video, but AOC herself, as she’s known on Twitter, weighed in with a string of tweets Tuesday afternoon.

“All of this is to say that words matter, and can have consequences for safety,” she said in her last tweet. “For those who believe in ‘free speech’: Whose free speech do you believe in?” …some folks using free speech to defend racism are also supporting folks passing laws to allow running over protesters.”

What do you think? Was the team’s apology appropriate? Or was it too little, too late? Tell The Bee here.



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Brianna Calix covers Fresno’s city government for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable, analyze city policy and inform readers how city hall decisions might affect their lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star.

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