Letters to the Editor

Fresno Grizzlies and Ocasio-Cortez: Letters to the editor, June 1, 2019

In this Feb. 27, 2019, photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens to questioning of Michael Cohen on Capitol Hill in Washington. She was portrayed in a bad light in a recent video played at a Fresno Grizzlies game.
In this Feb. 27, 2019, photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens to questioning of Michael Cohen on Capitol Hill in Washington. She was portrayed in a bad light in a recent video played at a Fresno Grizzlies game. AP file

Grizzlies created big embarrassment

Shame on the Grizzlies! They should have been more careful before showing a video which named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with dictators such as Fidel Castro and Trump’s North Korean bestie. I can’t believe it was a mistake. Each time something like that is done, it endangers her life and causes more division in this country. I’m embarrassed to be a Fresnan.

Sharon Harrison, Fresno

Grizzlies video is City Hall’s problem

The City Council has a problem. The Grizzlies operate their franchise on city property and saw fit to air an alt-right false news hateful video as a “tribute” to veterans on Memorial Day. The franchise apologized. No one should be mollified. The Fresno Democratic Party finds their explanation “plausible.” A video under four minutes long was not previewed “completely”? Either it was viewed or the franchise is incompetent, and likely both are true.

Hate speech was aired on city property and the shame of it reverberated across the nation. If the council does not report out exactly how this insult occurred, it will continue because someone purposely did this and without a public accounting they and others will do it again — in the city’s name. Fresno needs to know who was involved in this fiasco, what their roles were, what relevant documentation exists, and how this video, as shown, was created.

Finally, as a veteran I believe Ronald Reagan has nothing to say to vets. He had no military service, he was responsible for 214 Marine deaths in Lebanon, sold missiles to Iran to fund an illegal war in Latin America and he invaded Grenada. What a hero!

Robert Navarro, Fresno

Video was definitely political statement

After reading the apologies from the Grizzlies’ general manager and the comments from others, I feel a major point was missed regarding the Memorial Day video tribute.

First, there is no plausible excuse or explanation that can be offered to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that can explain this away. However, couldn’t Derek Franks try to come up with something better than “no one watched it to the end”? Derek Franks should have watched it to the end, especially with the knowledge that one of his employees yanked it off of YouTube ... a practice that should never be allowed.

Derek Franks and the Grizzly organization screwed up; they screwed up the organization, the city of Fresno, and added fuel to the fire of hate for one of our political leaders and politics in general.

And there’s the rub: The Grizzly organization professed this video to be a tribute to our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, not a political statement. However, as soon as they chose to air a video of a president, any president, regardless of the content of the speech, they made a political statement.

Rhonda Stehman, Clovis

Video was spot on about AOC

I agree the video shows a modern day America hater, OAC. She is just the person that should be exposed for her anti-American stance.

In today's world the left wants to destroy our heritage and culture. We are at a crossroads. The good must push back against the evil. Great job, Grizzlies — it’s a grand slam.

Bill Niehoff, Fresno

Grizzlies need more accountability

Before it gets swept under proverbial rug, here’s my two cents worth on the infamous Memorial Day video shown at the Grizzlies game.

High among the reprehensible parts of this "attack ad" against a U.S. congresswoman is the damage to Fresno’s reputation, which is already tarnished by low national rankings on everything from air pollution to poverty and homelessness. Whether intended or not, the content of that video completely undermines the dedicated work of local leaders, local government, and many other groups and individuals who have been spending countless hours and resources to “re-brand" Fresno as a good place to come in and start a business, get a good education and raise a family.

On the question of who sanctioned inserting in the video the attack on congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, a competent manager would have gotten immediately to the bottom of this fiasco and taken action against the responsible party(s). “Gee I’m really sorry about this blunder” and “it won’t happen again” plus the equally feeble “ I guess we didn’t properly vet (i.e. look at) the video before showing it” just don’t cut the mustard. What’s missing in this picture? Accountability and transparency.

Robert E. Kittredge, Fresno

Sun-Maid acting hypocritical

I'm both disgusted and amused at the reactions of some local businesses to the accidental portrayal of congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as an enemy of freedom at a Grizzlies game. Whether or not she is such can at least be debated.

However, the self-righteous hypocrisy of Sun-Maid Raisins CEO Harry Overly in refusing to continue sponsoring the Grizzlies demonstrates his apparent unfamiliarity with his company's history. A century ago Sun-Maid was colloquially known as "Gun Maid" — especially to Armenian farmers who were coerced into joining the cooperative to force a uniform price for their product. Lorraine Collett Peterson, the original Sun-Maid girl (whom I had the pleasure of meeting when researching my California on the Edge of American History), and who received very inadequate compensation for the use of her image by Sun-Maid, is no doubt turning over in her grave.

The point is: Everybody makes mistakes, some inadvertent and some intentional. I, for one, won't be buying Sun-Maid raisins (one of our staple purchases) again until they realize their current corporate error.

Ronald Genini, Fresno

This is a teachable, forgiveable moment

The Fresno Grizzlies: a decades-long commitment to and investment in community, people, fun and most of all, children. Human error: inadvertent and so terribly regretted. Clearly something that just can’t be tolerated or forgiven, it seems, as sponsors cut their partnerships with the team.

It saddens me that we cannot step up together with the Grizzlies to share our regret for what happened, to learn from this mistake (social and digital media content can fool us and hurt us if we are not careful — slow down, be diligent in review) and expect, together, that our team (the Grizzlies and the people of Fresno and the surrounding communities) prove that we stand together for community, people, fun and our children.

A teachable moment and an opportunity to come together. I hope it is not lost as the days and news cycles pass.

Leslie Botos, Fresno

Bredefeld is the one politicizing

I thought the article on the Fresno Grizzlies’ wayward video was excellent, well researched and your writer sought a variety of opinions. It was interesting that the article emphasized Memorial Day as a day of honoring our veterans, but Mr. Bredefeld chose to politicize his comments against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I find it hypocritical of Mr. Bredefeld to criticize her as a socialist when he actually works for a socialist government health-care organization, the VA hospital.

I am thankful for all of the military and Coast Guard service people who fought for both Alexandria's and Garry's right to express their opinions. I also congratulate Tecate and Sun-Maid for making a public response in support of the right for all of us to have different opinions.

Randall Morton, Fresno

Companies are wrong to drop sponsorships

People, can we please stop with all of this hate searching we are doing? Yes, the Fresno Grizzlies staff made a mistake in the video that they aired on Memorial Day. It was a mistake, they apologized and I think everyone should accept that and move on.

For those sponsors who pulled there sponsorship, shame on you! Has your company never made a mistake? I highly doubt it. Your own YouTube ad states “Can two strangers with opposing views prove that there’s more that unites than divides us?” yet here you are creating a divide and taking political sides. Sun-Maid, you are not perfect, either. You recently had to combat striking employees due to your lack of looking out for them.

As a combat veteran I can say that I am anti-AOC because she only spreads hate and lies. But that is my individual right. As a company you need to avoid politics and understand that mistakes happen. If Heineken and Sun-Maid do not return as sponsors, then I will start a boycott and protest on social media against them and any subsidiaries. Getting your companies involved in politics is a mistake in itself.

Michael Scott Fitzgerald, Fresno